Click here to read reviewer Marie D. Jones take on The God-Shaped Hole.
Granville Angell is a veteran helicopter-ambulance pilot who flew rescue and
emergency medical support missions during the Vietnam War. He has had extensive
academic and experiential training in psychology and counseling services as well as a
great deal of direct "hands on" field experience with crisis management, counseling
support, and emergency grief work with individuals, families, and groups affected by
disaster. His history of volunteer work with people who have
directly experienced the impact and devastation of trauma and loss of friends, family,
co-workers, and loved ones is impressive. In December 2001, he served as a volunteer for the Red
Cross's Disaster Mental Health Services Unit when it became operational at Ground
Zero after the terrorist attacks on New York City and World Trade Center on 9-11-2001.
The author is preeminently qualified to write this multi-faceted, allegorical story using
fictional characters, simple dialogue, and poignant everyday situations in profound,
thoughtful, and moving ways. He has dedicated The God-Shaped Hole to the victims,
families, rescue workers, and survivors of the tragedy of 9-11 with the hope to heal
us from within in this most uncertain, polarized, and turbulent period of modern American
history. This timely book addresses universal human feelings of emptiness, yearning,
fear, loss, and wonder without quick, absolute answers to essential, often unasked, spiritual
questions, rather than dogmatic answers with text-bound interpretations. He considers an array of questions about life, death, faith, existence, courage, abuse, addiction, honesty and sacrifice to get at even more basic or transpersonal questions about why this
way and all the ways we are designed. The author from the beginning cautions the reader
"please do not just believe any thing you read herein, because the intent of your journey
between these pages will only become clear if you bring an open mind tempered with the
courage to come by your answers through experience."
The story begins when Joey transports us back to a simpler time. At age seven, he starts the
second grade, sad and lonely because his dog, Frisky, has died. An older neighborhood boy, Tommy, has been bossy and very upset lately around Joey. Tommy's
Uncle Will, who works in the Twin Towers in New York City, promised Tommy could
visit on his ninth birthday. Tommy anticipates lavish presents and exciting sight-seeing excursions,
and eagerly awaits the opportunity to look down through the magnificent restaurant
windows perched high atop the Twin Towers. Tommy is frustrated because his parents have
told him he isn't old enough to fly by himself to New York on his birthday.
Joey's interaction with Tommy leads him to discuss deeper issues and feelings with his
maternal grandmother. Grandma lost Grandpa a while back and seems to be burdened
now with more chronic illness. But she has the patience, wisdom, and experience to
respond to Joey's questions in ways that facilitate his search for more answers. Using
considerable tact and sensitivity, Grandma introduces Joey to his God-shaped hole, his
Big-Me, and Little-Me as well as other metaphorical perspectives. She describes how
people, like emergent seeds, swell, seek fertile soil and grow up in order to meet their
innermost needs as well as to manage social behavior and learn to accept life-changing
realities and even more puzzling transitions.
How will Joey, Grandma, his family, the teachers, Tommy, and all of us cope with systematically plotted and executed suicidal airplane crashes into buildings, citizens,
visitors, cherished sites and symbols? All of these targeted objects and relational
events occurred overtly on September 11, resulting in death, terror, and
destruction. Will Grandma provide Joey a way to manage his feelings about
separation and loss, terrorists and fears of future attacks? Will he understand
how to lighten his load when it becomes heavy and continue to strive to fill
his God-shaped hole with authentic answers, new experiences, and cherished
here-and-now moments? You must read this story to find out for yourself what
is real and may be more understandable. You can reduce grief and may be
start to live some of the answers.
The God-Shaped Hole is a sensitive psychological journey that illuminates the
spiritual core and experiential bases of our curiosity, free spirit, transparent self,
and transpersonal being. The book can be read to children of any age and reading
level. It can be read to adult groups for discussion purposes. It can be read to people
of all faiths or to people who have no avowed faith or who may be questioning their
faith. The book can be used to help others who may have lost their will to live and
are looking to find it again. It can be used to support those among us who
face unspeakable tragedy, emotional trauma, and the loss of close family and
community relationships. The book may help those who want to try to understand
where courage comes from when one is faced with life-threatening risks and pays
the ultimate sacrifice.
You must read this excellent book and respond to the observations and specific
questions raised in the Epilogue. Your life can heal and may
be changed in the process.