||Dec 1 1999
The Fifth Goddess ~ sex, drugs and rock & roll with a
spiritual twist ~ no prophecy from Machu Pichu; no
mutant message; no one surfing the Himalayas. Just
four Goddesses overseeing an ordinary woman's path of
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The Fifth Goddess
Rena Sutcliffe is not on your average goddess guided journey! Wander through the keyhole of Rena's mind and lurk in the shadows while the goddesses fan the flames of fear, instigate rebellion, preach logic and extol the virtues of enlightenment.
Journey with the four goddesses as they steer Rena around and sometimes into recreational drugs, anonymous sex, corporate politics, past lives and mounds of junk food. All without Rena knowing she's not in charge of her own life!
I sat on my bed picking the hangnail on the side of my left middle finger. It was hard and sharp. The pain was deep, pleasurable, not the stinging of exposed skin that comes from a torn cuticle. Pulling, I twisted the piece of skin, playing with it to control the intensity of the pain. I knew it was wrong to enjoy it so much. But I did. The line between pleasure and pain blurred and my eyes floated in tears like the answer in a magic eight ball.
New Book Reviews
Reviewed by Diane Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
An insightful, highly readable book. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. Hoping the phone wouldn't ring and nobody would drop by to see me, I curled up on my couch and entered Rena's world.
Although Rena, the main character, had so many issues to deal with, it didn't create an atmosphere of "Woe is me", which I truly detest. I wouldn't have gotten through a chapter if I felt that was where Staci was taking us as we journeyed with Rena.
I loved the Goddess's behind the scene's and the discussions they had, taking us through the struggles we all go through in a totally different light.
The road Rena traveled was filled with joy, sorrow, learning, growth, tears, friendship, sex, drugs, addiction and love. Her difficulty with her weight and food addiction is so easy to identify with, especially in a society that constantly sells us anorexic images our ideal.
There are so many real, true to life characters in this book, I am sure that I have met some of them, or maybe have been them at one time or another.
If you are looking for an honest book, revealing the struggles that many of us face, without all the selfish trappings of our society, this will be a refreshing experience for you.
Reviewed by Catie Gosselin - Editor-in-chief
"The Fifth Goddess" documents one woman's journey of self-discovery and spirituality. Written from the perspective of goddesses representing parts of Rena's (the lead character) personality, "The Fifth Goddess" provides the reader with a unique perspective. Not only do we see the story unfold, we are privy to the internal conversations of her Being.
When we meet Rena, she is a woman entrenched in self-destructive, dangerous behaviors. She bounces from one extreme to another in seach of some sense of peace and happiness. The tapes playing in her head are universal to us all; if only she were thinner, had a better relationship, had a better job, etc she would find happiness.
Rena comes to the realization that the "if only"s have very little to do with her sense of herself and her happiness. At last, a story of a woman's self-discovery that doesn't end with her finding the right man and living happily ever after!
There are no quick fixes, no knight in shining armor, but there is empowerment and healing. The reader quickly becomes invested in this story; the writing is of such high quality. "The Fifth Goddess" is intelligent, brutally honest, and a book I'm very happy to recommend highly.
© Copyright 2000
"The Fifth Goddess" by Staci Backauskas
Reviewed by Heather Froeschl (writing1(at)roanoke.infi.net)
Publisher: Jai Creations
Rating: * * * stars (out of 4)
Rena Sutcliff is on a journey to self-discovery. As we all are, Rena has
conflict within herself. In "The Fifth Goddess," these conflicts are
characterized as Goddesses. We follow her ups and downs and radical life
changes as Rena tells us her story.
When we meet her, Rena is overweight and addicted to food. She satisfies
her cravings for love, respect and acceptance by gorging herself and then she feels worse. Erishkigal represents the part of Rena that is dominated
by fear and self-criticism.
Rebelling against her feelings of self-disgust Rena replaces her food
addiction with recreational drugs, meaningless sex and generally doing what
feels good. Kali is the Goddess that rules with destruction.
Snapping out of her drugged stupor after she almost loses her grandmother
and her job, she focuses on her career and becomes successful enough to
create her own opportunities. Inanna is the Goddess who guides with logic.
Becoming successful at work has it's price though and Rena is not happy
with who she has become. Steps must be taken to reclaim her soul. Kuan Yin
is the goddess who knows that enlightenment is the only true path to
Rena is faced with great loss and realizations of aspects of life that she
has never considered. Can she find herself and be happy in this life?
Staci Backauskas takes us through a delicate process of self-discovery in Rena and in ourselves. The plot is a web, woven so intricately that every
turn leads us into another, and all are essential strands to the whole.
Rena is someone whom I can relate to. She is real. She is confused, scared,
confident and contrary. She must learn to love herself, as must we all. Her
goddesses are little on their own, but combined they are a force, and complete with Rena, they are herself. The point of the book is clear: We all must work with our personal nuances to be happy. We cannot let our
destructive sides rule for too long, nor our logical side, either.
It took me a few chapters to get into the goddess' viewpoints, but it was
well worth the effort. "The Fifth Goddess" is a down-to-earth read --
sometimes raunchy, sometimes sad, even embarrassing and disgusting at times, but it was very real and I appreciated that.
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