Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

Albert: While reading this book, I sensed that at another time or place in my life, I might enjoy this book more. But at this point in time, I wasn’t so interested in Siddartha’s quest to find “enlightenment.” I found the arc of the story to be disappointingly mundane and Siddartha to be rather unlikeable. I also wished that the reasoning behind Siddartha’s choices and the causes for his moments of illumination were more clearly expressed — at times, they seemed to come out of the blue. However, the ending is a surprisingly interesting bit to read. Rating: C+

Kevin: Not long after I started reading this short novel, I regretted not reading it high school, when I first heard about it. It takes place during the time of the Buddha and follows the journey of a young man, Siddhartha, as he seeks enlightenment. Siddhartha is never satisfied with what he finds and makes several major lifestyle changes in an attempt to quench his spiritual thirst. I found the ending fairly satisfying, and overall, the book is quite easy to read.

I wish there was a modern-day Siddhartha that centers around my own life — something I could live by and turn to for answers. But of course, such a book cannot exist, and ultimately, I suppose it’s up to each of us to figure things out for ourselves. This process is quite individualized (and can be entirely unclear), but for me, reading Siddhartha was a helpful step. Rating: A

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