5/01/2006

Doing it the "White" Way

Hello, I am Michelle - one of Suzanne White's associates. I wrote this review of her book several years ago for a South African newspaper. Suzanne saw it on the Web and then found me and asked me to work with her. So now I do.

Here is what I said about Suzanne's THE NEW ASTROLOGY before I ever imagined one day that I might not only know her, but work with her! MF


Doing it the "White" Way

Every now and then a book comes along that changes your way of viewing the world around you. One of those special books you never forget. They can be anything from poetry to politics, fantasy to fiction. The New Astrology is one of those books for me.

HOW DID I COME TO READ IT?

As a teenager, I had an average interest in astrology. I read all the magazine articles trying to tell me what career/man/hairstyle was the right one for my star sign, Leo. And every now and then I'd read the horoscopes for a laugh. On the whole, I was mostly disappointed. As much as I wanted to be the bright bold Leo that all the articles spoke about, I couldn't relate to the character they said I had at all! I didn't like Leo’s likes, I didn't like Leo's characteristics and no-one ever guessed that I was a Leo either. People who thought they knew a bit about astrology would stop me at parties and gatherings and say things like, "Aaaah, you're a Libra or a Pisces, aren't you?" Then I'd tell them"No. I'm a Leo!" and everyone would gasp and say, "A WHAT???"

My whole astrology picture began to be a bit annoying. People would laugh or look utterly at a loss for words and I'd want to say: "Yeah, right.. leave me alone. It's not my fault. There was probably a big cosmic mess-up and I was really meant to be born some other month."

The irony was that, aside from hating being a Leo, I really enjoyed astrology. I loved reading the books; and where other people were concerned I was pretty good at sussing out their signs and figuring out where their planets might be. I even started collecting astrology books and actually studying astrology. Friends would be impressed at how much I knew and surprised at how I accurately I could tell them things about themselves. All was well until they asked me what sign I was. Then my beliefs would crumble like a badly baked fortune cookie.

Then, one Christmas, my mom bought me an astrology book that changed everything. I'd read a bit of Chinese astrology before then and found that my Chinese sign fitted me a bit better. But still, it was not an exact match. My mom had seen this new book when out gift hunting and as my Christmas wish list included light holiday reading to relax and eat festive treats to, she thought this book sounded just perfect.

That first Christmas afternoon, I settled down with my box of chocs and started browsing through it. I actually started by reading about friends and family first. Since my own information was always a disappointment, I didn't even bother to read about myself until I'd read several other people. By then, I'd worn myself out and worked off all the calories I'd munched by zipping around the house to read out loud bits of the book to family. The information in this book was so spot-on, it was hilarious. I'd just settle down when I'd feel an urgent need to be up again to let grandma read why grandpa was such a pain in the rear or to tease my mom by reading her personal details aloud to my dad whilst he fell about laughing.

Finally everyone asked, "What about you?" I paged to my section , Leo/Cat, and started reading.

I was stunned. There I was. I mean it REALLY was "me". The ME nobody knows. My innermost weaknesses, my greatest strengths and even my secret fears and desires. For the first time ever I'd found a version of astrology that knew exactly who I was and why I'd never fitted the conventional mould. I've owned The New Astrology since it was first published in 1986 (there have been several reprints since then, including paperback versions) and in all the years I've looked up friends, enemies, family and lovers I've only once met a person who didn't fit the personality profile.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT:

Basically The New Astrology is a fusion of Western and Chinese astrology. Instead of a book that gives you the usual twelve Western star signs or twelve Chinese year signs to choose your personality from, you now get a book with a whopping 144 combination astrological fusions to find yourself amongst.


Rudyard Kipling wrote:
"Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgement Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the earth!"

Well, he might have thought it would take two strong men to bring East and West together, but this one woman astrologer has proved him wrong.

THE LAYOUT:

When my mom chose this as "light holiday reading" she was choosing for entertainment value and not size! The hardcover version I have is about the size of War and Peace and can be a formidable weapon if dropped from a reasonable height.

Unlike War and Peace however, this book won't leave you exhausted and confused trying to follow the intricacies of 144 different personalities. Suzanne White has a style of writing that is both entertaining and educational. She writes and it reads like an old friend having a chat over lunch. Casual, friendly and a pleasure to spend time with. You never feel you're being talked down to no matter how ignorant your knowledge of astrology might be and she always manages to make you laugh and feel good about yourself even when she's telling you all your faults and flaws.

The book is divided up into four sections and comes with an extensive Chinese year calendar covering about six centuries so you can also check out famous historical figures.


Of the 144 signs, each new "double sign" gets roughly four or more pages divided into a few simple sub-sections:

PERSONALITY - The good, the bad and the ugly of who you are. Illustrated with personal stories from the author's own experiences.


LOVE - How you react to love and romance. What attracts you, what turns you off and what you really need to be happy.


COMPATIBILITIES - A list of those signs you'll be best suited to romantically as well as those you should avoid at all costs.


HOME AND FAMILY - How you were as a child, how you will be as a parent and what kind of house you like to call home.


PROFESSION - What suits you best. Are you better as employee or employer and ending with a list of career choices as well as famous people born in the same sign.


What makes this book so hard to put down isn't just the fact that the combination signs are so incredibly accurate, it's also Suzanne's writing itself. Direct straight talking is Suzanne White's secret weapon. All through the book she keeps you entertained with her in-your-face honesty and dry humour. No romanticised ideas or vacuous astrological waffle in this book. If she thinks you're an idiot and a danger to yourself and/or society she'll tell you so, and make you laugh at your own humanity whilst doing it. This book is the best friend who has the cheek to tell you what an ass you can be, because she loves you, as well as how fantastic you really are - when you're not being an ass!

The feeling that this woman really likes people is what makes her a great writer and a great astrologer. Her warmth and enthusiasm for the wondrous miracle of being human reaches out through every page and personality type. She laughs WITH you about your weaknesses and silly ways rather than laughing AT you and she's equally frank in dishing out the praise. When she tells you where you're strengths and talents lie, it makes a bigger impact because you know you're getting it just as straight. My only complaint is you're left wanting more, but since the book is already enormous the only way you'd get more information for each sign is if she was to write a separate book for each sign.

THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne White is a sassy American Scorpio-Tiger astrologer now living in France and Buenos Aires. If you want to know more about her check out her webpage at http://www.suzannewhite.com or - better still -
read one of her best-selling books.

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