by Pema Chodron

Shambhala Publications, $14.00, 148 pages

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron reads as part biographical remembrances and part well-written lessons on delving into Buddhism. The chapters are broken into key components of Buddhist belief, including meditation, Maitri (loving yourself), refusing to do harm, abandoning hope in favor of living in the moment, “egolessness” as clear perception, compassion, and the middle way.

Chodron begins with breathing and discussing the ancient tradition of meditation. She moves on to emphasize living mindfully and expressing compassion, especially being compassionate toward yourself. She explains many concepts and provides exercises for the reader to fully grasp the lesson on hand.

This reviewer found some parts of the book to have confusing syntax. However, it seemed at the end of a difficult passage, the author would slip in a sentence or story that suddenly made the entire chapter clear. The book is a short read that is dense with lessons that can be applied to anyone’s life.

Jina Oravetz