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Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945, Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory–known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)–holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaninghad sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America

This book surprised me and there are two very simple reasons:

a.I do not,or hardly,read a non fiction book ,a memoir or an autobiography/biography.So when I read this I began questioning my choices,or better EVERYTHING.

b.Even more shocking,I cried all through the book.

I keep myself away from motivational books and I don’t know why I do that.When I started reading this book I was expecting myself to abandon it in a few pages,but I didn’t. I kept on reading it even though it made my skin shiver and my heart ache.Is it not a little strange that you can feel so much for people you have never met or never seen?It was like I was almost there,like I could see them working in the camps with their ill and weak bodies just dragging on,clinging to life.

I was filled with despair when I read about the accounts of the camp.It was the first time I had read such a descriptive account of the sufferings of the jews and others who were in the camps.They could  not sleep,could not eat,could not do anything.They were treated like garbage.(I’m sugarcoating this post af)but this book does not only dwell on the never ending misery of the people but on so much more.As the title suggests it’s about finding meaning,even if it’s in suffering.Victor E Frankl gives illumination to human behaviour,questioning things you may have thought at nights when you couldn’t sleep.I had questions as ‘why didn’t the prisoners kill themselves?how could Hitler be this evil or how could the nazis commit a crime this horrible,how did the jews manage to live in such a condition,such a place?Why didn’t they lose hope?For what did the they live?’

I found an answer to every single one of them etched in the pages.My eyes couldn’t take the overwhelming answers and I could not believe that I had been ignorant for so long.

My favorite part of the book:
“I came to my only countryman, who was almost dying, and whose life it had been my ambition to save in spite of myself, but my comrade seemed to guess that something was wrong (perhaps I showed a little nervousness). In a tired voice he asked me, ‘You too, are getting out?’ I denied it, but I found it difficult to avoid his sad look. After my round I returned to him. Again a hopeless look greeted me and somehow I felt it to be an accusation. The unpleasant feeling that had gripped me as soon as I had told my friend I would escape with him became more intense.

Suddenly I decided to take fate into my own hands for once. I ran out of the hut and told my friend that I could not go with him. As soon as I had told him with finality that I had made up my mind to stay with my patients, the unhappy feeling left me. I did not know what the following days would bring, but I had gained an inward peace that I had never experienced before. I returned to the hut, sat down on the boards at my countryman’s feet and tried to comfort him…”

It will be painful to read this book,but in the end you’ll be glad that you did.

(Excuse me for my poor attempt to summarize my feelings because obviously I could not.)

                             MY RATING





7 thoughts on “Man search for meaning|Review

  1. It certainly sounds an amazing book, Anushka. Any thought or theory system that manages to allow a death camp survivor come to terms with his experience and then move forward must be worth serious consideration. Thank you for sharing so fully and honestly the impact this book made on you – I think you did a very good job.

    Liked by 1 person

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