The Pursuit of Enlightenment
By: Mary Scarpelli
Length: 417 pages
Release date: Sep 6, 2013
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Poor Toni; uninspired by the pseudo intellectualism conferred upon her by a lesser-known SUNY, she progressed past collegiate life out loud and proud yet only marginally better than clueless. A few years later, after having unwittingly alienated most of her friends and lovers, she concluded that having the acumen of your average turnip simply wouldn’t cut it anymore. The setting for this coming of age tale entitled The Pursuit of Enlightenment is the mid nineties, New York City. The narrative tightly follows Toni as she attempts to stay afloat in what she comes to view as an incomprehensibly nuanced world of irrational emotions and complicated friendships.
The prospect of evolving from an arrogant know-it-all to someone whose mere presence doesn’t empty a room inspires Toni to absorb each painful life lesson and soldier on as she tries desperately to attain some semblance of self knowledge. As she becomes more aware of the thornier requirements of maintaining healthy working and personal relationships, she begins to realize how little she understands about what actually motivates her actions and how recklessly tossing off unsolicited, uneducated advice can wreak havoc on the sensitive balance of boundaries between friends. A constant presence throughout her missteps and growth is her best friend Kat who refuses to budge an inch in allowing self reflected psychobabble to dominate Toni’s interpretation of the world around her. Toni continues to wing-it until her ill conceived narrative gets further deconstructed by the institutionalization of her lover whose need for a supportive, emotionally healthy friend provides the right cathartic mechanism for her immaturity to be left behind.