Book Review: The Road to Joy

The Road to Joy: Eight Pathways of Psychospiritual Transformation by Kevin P. McClone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Much of “The Road to Joy” is amazing. Many individual lines shine; I think I reached a new personal high in highlighting thoughts for later. The author draws upon a breadth of perspective, rooted in his reading and research but also in his lived experience as a priest and hospice worker. It provided both a high-level view and a rich emotional connection to his ideas about how we humans can truly live well.

The only real weakness – and it was a significant one – is that the book needs more editing. These remarkable insights are not organized well; as a reader, it was difficult to follow the author’s train of thought, or hold a narrative thread in the structure of a broader context. It made the book hard to finish – even though the real gems of thought and prose continued throughout.

As someone who has largely approached spiritual meaning and truth outside of a Christian context, I appreciated being exposed to the rich tradition of thought in these matters within the Catholic church. I’ve flagged several saints and priests for further research. I also appreciated his integral approach with humanistic psychology.

Within the past thirty years, there has been a new interest in the integration of spirituality or faith perspectives and psychology. Science and religion have grown closer together over this same period and there is less distrust in many circles.

This work is seated entirely within this integration – he draws on a wide range of psychologists as well as faith leaders from both east and west. This is exciting to me; it’s where I want to live, in a world where faith and science both inform the experience of being alive, of coming into our full humanity.

The Eight Pathways mentioned in the title speak very deeply to me, starting with “Follow your Deepest Desire”, on living a life of deep purpose, through to Intimacy, Integrity, and a final chapter on simply embracing Joy itself.

I’m very grateful for the gift of this work, and for the many highlights I will revisit. I hope that a future edition can tighten the prose and give it more structure and coherence.

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