If Sandy Boucher had presented this book as an academic text, a philosophical treatise, or a spiritual training guide, I would have rated this book much lower. But the key word is "discovering." As a communications professional and educator, as well as a Buddhist, I think you must evaluate a book in terms of it's intended audience and purpose.
When institutions lose sight of universal compassion as a living principle, when tradition is monopolozed by an aristocracy of scholars and clerics indifferent to the suffering of everyday people, then people rediscover Kwan Yin - "she who hears the crying of the world." Sandy Boucher has gathered the stories of several women who have "discovered" Kwan Yin in their own lives, in their own ways, for their own reasons.
Sandy Boucher steps back and does not impose an aggressive point-of-view of her own. She is non-judgemental, not because she is a flake, but because her main purpose is to tell the stories of a few women, and let those stories speak for themselves. The "discovery" of Kwan Yin is the discovery of how, in a multitude of ways, compassion becomes a living reality in the lives of these women, based on THEIR experience of Kwan Yin. A more scholarly, critical, or polemical approach would have weakened -- not strengthened -- this book.
Try reading it with a beginner's mind.
This is an interesting little book in some respects, but I was a bit disappointed. I only recently "discovered" Kuan Yin, so the educational elements of the book were nice; however, I was a bit put-off at the beginning of the book, when Boucher refers only to
Asian-decended or European-decended women being drawn to Kuan Yin - she completely leaves out any other ethnicity, which I found offensive.
Boucher does bring together several different religions and lifestyles into this book, which was nice, and relays the stories and experiences of quite a few women throughout. It's a quick read - it only took me a few hours one night - that concludes with a listing of various ways to get in touch with your own manifestation of Kuan Yin, as well as a good listing of "for further info" citations.
Still, despite its good points, I'm left feeling somewhat...wanting. While I'm sure Boucher is very passionate about Kuan Yin, that passion doesn't come through terribly well in her writing voice - it almost comes across as more ... how can I phrase this without offending anyone? Not easy. There is a fine line between a child-like wonder (which I view as A Good Thing) and an incredibly mindless acceptance of anything. Boucher seems to teeter precariously on that line.
I also couldn't connect with her through her writing voice - usually, it's easy to get a good feel for an author through his or her voice and style, but Boucher seems to keep the reader at arms-length, which is (to me) rather off-putting.
I'm not sure. I really *wanted* to like this book, but I feel only luke-warm about it. Ah well, I'm off in search of others like it.