Leslie J. McClinton,
Dinner With Da Vinci:
The Road Royale Through Rebirth

(Great Reading, 2006)

According to its preface, the aim of Dinner With Da Vinci is to "refine and make understandable the difficult topic of reincarnation." Unfortunately, all the author does is seriously muddy the waters -- the book is anything but understandable. Rather, it's an incoherent jumble of out-of-order journal entries, interviews with friends and family members, reminiscences and e-mails. The author's research is somewhat questionable when she strays beyond documented history -- relying on Wikipedia, for instance, is never a good idea, and determining a person's past life by their resemblance to a historical photograph hardly seems scientific. By the time a reader reaches the 55 Laws of Rebirth, inexplicably listed as an afterthought in the final chapter, it's a relief to have the book finished.

The author clearly has a great passion for her subject (anyone who would go to the trouble of writing a 313-page book clearly has some feeling about it). The book does have potential; unfortunately, what is presented here resembles a first draft more than a completed work. The author might have done better to list the 55 Laws in the first chapter and set about proving or disproving them, instead of saving them for last. Additionally, the book would have been far more readable if the author had picked a pronoun and stuck with it, not referred to herself in the third person by a handle she doesn't explain until the last quarter of the book and not referred to people by their initials (with the exception of JFK) or by one incarnation at the beginning of a sentence and another at the end.

Unless the author decides to revisit and revise this work, I cannot recommend it.

by Laurie Thayer
18 November 2006

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