Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts by Janet DeLee is a sweet little story. The story of a writer who created a self-help group of few people to help themselves create a dream life. Her motive is to chase her own dream of living in a self-owned cottage. When she finds it difficult to chase it all by herself, she thinks of having this group. Rest of the story is of each of the group members. Members taking baby steps towards their biggest dream. Helping each other and finally achieving more than what they wished for – all in a span of fewer than 6 months.
Now this would have been one of those ‘meant to inspire’ self-help books but for a smart twist introduced by the author. Janet DeLee introduces Ghosts – yes the ghosts in 3 different stories and in the end they all come together. The ghosts add the zing to the story that would otherwise be rather predictable and hence not so exciting. Ghosts anyway have this mystery that they come wrapped in. And that can tickle the imagination to corners that do not even know exist inside our brains. So, in this case, people face ghosts at their workplace, at the new home they move in and sometimes meet their friends who have just left for their heavenly abode. It is interesting how all the characters in the story come together to sort out this mystery.
I learned the concept of astral projections through this story. I never knew that living persons can also project themselves elsewhere and do things directed by their subconscious. Hologram inventors must have taken the cue from this phenomenon and replicated it.
Language and narrative are simple. The story follows a set pattern and over 5-6 meetings of the group, the story builds up and wraps up. Everyone has met their dream goal – process seems rather simple, many practical hiccups have been ignored. I think Janet DeLee could have built more depth into the stories. She could have added a few more practical problems that people face on their way to dream run. She leaves one of the stories open. I assume the author may be planning a sequel and may pick up from there. She has also left a small window of romantic inclination open. So I would not be surprised if the author comes up with a follow-up book on this.
Though it is a fiction, I would still rate this book Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts as self-help. The book that works on you in a way that re-enforces lot of things that you know about but often misses doing. It gives you a systematic way to do things to reach where you want to reach. My biggest take away would be having a group working together on your respective dreams – helps to have people around you in the same boat, supporting you & holding you when things go bad. Like a startup entrepreneur once told me – the best support comes from fellow entrepreneurs as they perfectly understand your pains and joys.
Take your call.