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Blaming Japhy Rider, Memoir of a Dharma Bum Who Survived Reviewed By John Cowans of Bookpleasures.com
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John Cowans

Reviewer John Cowans: John was a University, College, and School English teacher for over 40 years, John Cowans now lives in retirement in Chester., Nova Scotia.

 
By John Cowans
Published on July 5, 2012
 


Author: Philip Bralich
AISBN 978-1-4525-4052-8

Follow Here To Purchase Blaming Japhy Rider: Memoir of a Dharma Bum Who Survived

Author: Philip Bralich

AISBN 978-1-4525-4052-8

I supposed we are, as Dickens wondered, the heroes of our own stories, but the real question is whether these stories are enough significance to support the heroes they contain. Someone else said something about there being only one person in a hundred who is boring and that person is interesting because he is boring.

All of this points to the many dangers inherent in writing autobiography, or memoir as some quibblers call it. The major danger here is that we may think our life story is interesting, but others may beg to differ. Blaming Japhy Rider: Memoir of a Dharma Bum Who Survived is a case in point.  I am  not saying that this story is uninspiring; that assessment I leave to you , the reader; I have always thought that writers of ‘memoir’ should write first for themselves and then, if others show interest, then all well and good. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I do have the feeling that this is the case with this book which might have acted as a form of therapy of the author.

Philip Bralich’s story begins in West Africa where he and his  wife are sent by the Peace Corps in 1978. Unfortunately a serious motorcycle accident takes his wife’s life and leaves the author partially crippled. For the next thirty years Bralich travels the world spending time in Japan and Hawaii trying to come to terms with his wife’s loss eventually settling in Monterey , California where he now lives.

Most important, Blaming Japhy Rider is a spiritual journey wherein Bralich attempts to assuage the affects of post traumatic stress disorder caused by his accident through the Zen and Tibetan Buddhist disciplines which he experiences in his travels. Bralich is also influenced by the writings of Kerouac , Ginsberg and other Beat writers. Japhy Ryder, a character in Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums, is the fictional name for Gary Snyder who introduces Kerouac to Buddhism, and Allan Ginsberg’s poem Howl acts as recurring theme linking the episodes of this story together.

Blaming Japhy Rider is an interesting account of one man’s struggle against formidable psychological odds, and for anyone suffering with PTSD this story will provide reassurance and hope. As Bralich makes clear, PTSD is not only caused by the terrors of warfare; there are other terrors, just as severe which can assail anyone who has been faced with trauma in any of the battlefields of life.

Follow Here To Purchase Blaming Japhy Rider: Memoir of a Dharma Bum Who Survived