My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great book either. A story about a spiritual journey from ignorance to true enlightenment. I never went into any true depths when it comes to Buddhism, but I can see where Eckhart Tolle got his inspiration from – being in the Now, freeing yourself of your Ego – it’s all being depicted in this book. It’s wonderful to see Hesse getting into this in 1922. Nowadays, with information being so easily accesible, there aren’t a lot of new and refreshing things to find in this book, but I can imagine that it opened up minds into a new state of being back in the days when it was recently published.
I only gave it two stars, because I couldn’t get over my intense feeling of annoyance towards Siddharta. I’m sure it’s all part of the journey, but my god, the amount of arrogance and narcissism was too much for me. Also, the egoism in leaving the people who love him and care for him so easily made me feel the same level of annoyance I have towards the guy from Into The Wild. Maybe it’s partially jealousy from my side. Maybe, just maybe, I secretly would like to be able to do as I please as well, without caring about what my loved ones think of it.
But I think it’s mostly just a feeling of anger that you shouldn’t abandon people for the sake of your own selfish needs. Maybe I’m still ignorant about the path to enlightenment, I just don’t see how lack of compassion would fit into it.
The sexual arrogance and scene where Siddharta is suggesting he could take Kamala by force if he wanted to also repulsed me. Does the fact that he decided not to make him a better person? I think no nice person would even think it, let alone suggest it out loud.
Luckily, the last three or four chapters were a lot more tolerable. I adored the ferryman and his wise quotes. I love rivers and the fact that they were learning from this particular river in the book made the whole reading of it a better experience.