Bending Over Backwards – Carlo Pizzati – Book Review

Bending Over Backwards – Carlo Pizzati – Book Review


Title: Bending Over Backwards

Author: Carlo Pizzati

Genre: Travelogue

Price: Rs 276

No of Pages: 197

Synopsis: In this intrepid and humorous travelogue, Carlo Pizzati embarks on a quest to find a cure for a backache that has tortured him for twenty years. Armed with his notebook and an indomitable spirit of adventure, Carlo travels from a posturologist’s office in northern Italy to the rarefied mountain air of Boulder to seek a variety of New Age alternative cures; from a trance-dance venue hidden near the woods of Cinque Terre to an exorcist-shaman’s den near Buenos Aires, who photographs demons and auras. Eventually, Carlo fetches up in India, to live and learn from the yogis at the Ashtanga yoga centre in Mysore. In India, as Carlo engages in strenuous yogic discipline, meditates atop hills, he has an explosive insight into his past births which leads to an encounter that will change his life forever. Along the way, our sceptical, suffering but always curious narrator discovers the ways in which spirituality and technology intersect. Wry, witty and wise by turns, this is a book about self-discovery, facing fears and failures, and undertaking an arduous journey with an open mind and heart.

My Take:

Pros: The book describes the author’s journey across several parts of the world in a quest to cure his backache, which he has acquired thanks to bending over computer keyboards for years and years. The author has worked as a journalist on a regular basis and is on the verge of switching over to becoming a freelancer. He is also having personal problems. I liked the premise of the book. One of the chief questions for which the author tries to find an answer as he moves from one guru to another is the link between technology and spirituality. The answer to this question is something that has always interested me. He receives different replies from different men but none of them really convince him.

The book is written in a mixed style, witty and serious in turns. It is an extremely engaging book and the descriptions of some of the semi-technological means employed by the shamans and spiritual gurus to cure the author’s backache make for very interesting reading. In the end, the author finds an answer to his spiritual quest in India, the land of ancient wisdom and yoga. Finally, the author in the quest for a cure for his backache emerges as a person with a better personality on the whole. The author’s experiences from Vicenza in Italy to Boulder in Colorado to Los Angeles in California and finally India are very vividly described and make the book very interesting and unputdownable.

Cons: There are not too many drawbacks in the book. Except that I would have liked it if the author had elaborated a little more on the scientific questions that plague the borderline between science and spirituality. I would very dearly have liked to know what personal opinion the author finally formed from the various answers he got from the spiritual gurus he asked the questions of. I also wonder why the author did not bother to consult a genuine scientist and ask him of his opinion. The author only questions men of spirituality. But that is neither here nor there and does not really matter.

Conclusion: A very engaging and interesting read. I would definitely recommend this book for all those people who are interested in spirituality and are keen on travelogues.

Rating: I am going with a 4/5 for Carlo Pizzati’s Bending Over Backwards.

Rating Scale:

                1 – Poor

                2 – Fair

                3 – Good

                4 – Excellent

                5 – Outstanding

This review has been written as part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program.

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