Well it took me a few extra days to finish up The Breaking of the Shell and it took me even more days just to write the review. The book is a parable and reminds me so very much of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Author Barry Durdant-Hollamby works very hard to stoke a fire of discovery in the reader and succeeds on many levels. You’re gonna hear his lesson whether you want to or not but what you choose to take from the lesson is on the reader.
The Breaking of the Shell revolves around Alexander Baker’s life and the mysterious message left to him by his ailing father. From his childhood, Alex is lead a sheltered and privileged life and while he seems to be doing well on the surface, following the models he believes display success, his world in shambles and his relationships failing. Through messages from his friends and ex-wife, mystical omens and dreams, Alex is given tools and messages in order to lead a healthier and more peaceful life. By the end of the book, Alex is well on to changing the world.
I really enjoyed reading about Alex’s ups and downs and empathized with him even when he’s at his most deplorable. Throughout most of the book, he’s portrayed as an “every guy” kinda guy who just wants to have the respect of society. This need drives him into shallowness. He is a very warm person at heart who has a clear sense of right and wrong. His wrong actions cause him deep guilt and shape him into a man who avoids the difficult choices at all costs.