Book Review: The Reluctant Psychic by Suzan Saxman, Perdita Finn

About the book

We all, as children, saw imaginary friends and heard monsters in the closet. But for Suzan Saxman, those friends and monsters didn’t go away—and they weren’t imaginary. They were the dead who came to her from the time she was a little girl with urgent messages for the living. Raised in a house filled with secrets, she saw and spoke the truth as soon as she could talk, alarming the nuns in her convent school with her revelations and terrifying her own mother with her strange visions. Each night she woke to see a man with no eyes watching her, and each day she kept watch by the window while her father was at work and Steve, her real father, a swarthy drifter, rendezvoused with her mother. It was the 1960s in suburban Staten Island and she tried to hide it all, and be a daughter her mother could love.

Always skeptical of her tremendous gift, she struggled to come to terms with her calling even as she revealed the destinies of everyone, from housewives to hit men, stockbrokers to rock-and-rollers. She could witness everyone’s future—everyone’s but her own. Why was she visited by angels and demons? Could she ever escape this strange fate? Where was her own soul mate?

Now Suzan tells the story of her journey and tries to make sense of her family’s buried secrets. Through powerful readings of others’ destinies interwoven with compelling narrative, a reluctant psychic emerges from the shadows.

My thoughts

This was such an honest biography, I almost felt like a voyeur for reading it. Suzan tells all in this book of her frightful childhood and her coming into her own, for the moment. As much as think The Reluctant Psychic is about her abilities and realizing this made her special, this is also a book about coming to terms with her family’s secrets.

I have to admit that this book almost includes too much. The details of the taunting by her mother and childhood bullies were terrible to read. The truth about her father, and her mother’s husband, were obviously not made up. The lack of love from her mother made me wonder how she came into the world at all, much less with such hope for the future. Sad to see what people put children through. Despite all of that Suzan still retains all of this hope for herself and the coincidences in her life.

She admits that she can’t see anything about her own fate, but then she actually does a few times. Some of the people that feature in this story seem right out of a comic book or something. I have no doubt that people treat clairvoyants differently when they know about them. I just didn’t realize how differently. The people in this book wear costumes and believe in fairies, not that it is all bad. The people in this story seem a little dreamy and very far from the reality I live in. I could see why she calls herself the reluctant psychic, as much as she seemed to just want to be like everyone else she isn’t. People treat her very differently and expect much more from her. It was interesting to learn about how she stumbled through her beginnings. It didn’t really help her to be clairvoyant, except to make her really different from everyone else.

I liked this story, but I was really torn on how to rate it. Due to the genuine person behind this tale, and her unique story, I had to admire her honesty. Not everyone can get up and tell the truth about their skeletons. This is a very resilient woman. I don’t read many biography books, but I believed in Suzan, she seemed real to me. This whole book is delivered in first person. The writer was obviously trying not to skip anything in the delivery. It probably had too many details without enough of the psychic stories we all want to read about. I felt like it needed it to have more of a focused delivery to gain the popularity that this woman’s story probably deserves.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: February 02, 2016
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