Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review : Man's search for Meaning by V.E.Frankl

There are innumerable literary works based on holocaust and I have read quite a few of them, the latest being Maus.In my opinion, reading multiple accounts of any tragedy desensitizes the reader and the book loses its purpose.Therefore,I was quite skeptical about reading this one but went ahead anyway as it had such raving reviews.                                                                      According to the author, a prison is the best place to study humanity because inside a jail, one can closely observe the 3 shades of life-white, black and grey. The first half of the book is Frankl’s account of his experience in a concentration camp. It has all the common elements of a holocaust story-the gas chambers, the Capos, shaved heads, bony skeletons and all other cruelties that make you lose faith in humanity. The author narrates the experiences of the prisoners who found hope amid all the hardships and hence made it till the end. He also writes about the prisoners who failed to find a dream that could give them a purpose in life and therefore lost the game of survival. The second half of the book is about “logotherapy” which is a psychology theory stating that suffering and survival go hand in hand and only through suffering can one find the true meaning of life.   
              The great thing about the book is that it provides a scientific perspective to the survival stories of holocaust. The not-so-great thing about the book is that the whole chapter on “logotherapy” is like a medical journal filled with technical jargon.It was good read but I do not think that this is one of those books which will totally transform one's outlook towards life.

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