More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife Book Review

More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife
Author: Yvonne Perry
ISBN: 0-9753870-6-5
Price $13.99 US
Publisher: Booksurge (2005)
Pages: 166 pgs.
Genre: Spirituality/Metaphysics
Reviewer: Andrea Mai (a student in WITS newbie mentoring class)

When I first got the book, I was under the impression that More Than Meets the Eye by author Yvonne Perry was going to be primarily about near-death experiences (NDE) and the spiritual aspects involved with such an experience. While there are certainly chapters devoted to the NDE, I am happy to report the book is about so much more than that. It was an intriguing combination of analysis, personal experience, collected and collective stories. Perry graduated from the American Institute of Holistic Theology with a degree in Metaphysics which allowed her a solid background to explore the subject. This book is filled with well-researched details about everything you might want to know about death, dying, and afterlife.

One of the chapters I especially enjoyed was called Souls and Ceremonies. It was filled with information about burial, embalming, and cremation with historical and modern citations about laws surrounding each of these processes. I’ve often thought a funeral pyre would be a great way to say goodbye if our society could handle it. Instead, I’ll probably just be cremated behind closed doors and handed over to my loved ones in a tidy little urn. My grandmother always wanted to be buried in a plain pine box but apparently, in Minnesota, there are laws for how well the box must be constructed. After reading this chapter, I want to find out more for her.

I was intrigued by the chapters discussing the afterlife and NDEs. The author, Yvonne Perry, grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church and that’s where she spent her time until she was forty years old. Then she began to explore other spiritualities. I found it interesting because my history is almost the opposite of hers. I spent years studying Taoism, Buddhism, and Paganism then spent time in Christianity, then left for more Buddhism and have returned fully to a liberal Christianity but not in order to follow by rote what others tell me to believe. I believe in the Christ. I also believe whole-heartedly in reincarnation. As a student of Christian theology, my beliefs about God are wider than the little box many to which many ascribe for the Divine, starting with my Christian brothers and sisters. And, Perry does a fine job of exploring the afterlife from both her own understanding of metaphysics and religion as well as the understanding within different spiritual/faith communities.

The only real problem I had with the book was the personal stories that were in italics. Some only had a brief mention of the storyteller which made it hard to keep up with who was telling the story. This was primarily an issue of how it was formatted for these sequences. The stories were good, just a little vague about who was telling them. Of course, I read quickly with a tendency to skim until something jumps out at me. So, it may be my own method of reading that triggered the problem.

With chapters on Hospice care, suicide, euthanasia as well as ceremonies, near-death and out of body experiences this 166-page book lives up to its title. I think the book works because Perry takes a thoughtful approach to these subjects, neither forcing her views onto the reader but also not shying away from subjects that many readers might not know about or understand. I had never heard of walk-in souls as she described in Chapter Seven: I Don’t Like it Here (Dealing With Suicide). It was a completely new idea to me and one I’ll read more about.

The book didn’t have time to get dull with the very approachable blend of statistics, facts, other people’s stories and Perry’s own story. It was a quick-read but one you can go back to again and again to go a little deeper. There were some helpful items found at the end of the book. A copy of a Living Will and Warning Signs of Suicide were included as well as a Bibliography listing her many resources.

Overall, I would recommend this book to any person who is either curious or struggling with any of these issues. It was enjoyable, thought-provoking, and I know I will return to it when I meditate on these topics.


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