29 Gifts by Cami Walker (Blackstone)

Shortly after her honeymoon Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and entered an abyss filled with physical pain and depression.  Somewhat of a connoisseur of the alternative healing scene, she turns to an African-American woman trained in traditional, medicine woman healing, who instructs her to begin a giving practice. While science might not back all aspects of what the author describes in the rituals there are studies that show the simple spiritual principle of giving to receive works. Her disease was not cured but her ability to cope grew by leaps and bounds. The tone of Walker’s prose is girlie-dramatic and Gilbert’s narration matches the breathless quality. This may give older listeners a twinge, as it is like non-fiction, self-help Chick Lit.  But, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the author’s pluckiness as well as the amazing forbearance of her husband as she finds peace and happiness with friends, support groups, multiple alternative therapies, spiritual practices, and most of all, the simple act of conscious giving. Walker has a website that issues a giving challenge and participants can blog about their experiences. An open-hearted story for open-hearted listeners. Sound Commentary