Living Through Alchemy: A transformational journey to freedom by Vi Vi Thai

Vi Vi Thai creatively illustrates her inner transformation in Living Through Alchemy: A transformational journey to freedom by Vi Vi Thai. In this book, the author shared her life from her birth in Vietnam through her Master’s degree in Bio-Medical Engineering at Cornell University as the backdrop to her personal transformation. Her real growth occurred after she started a new life in Canada as a van dweller. In addition to Vi Vi Thai’s personal story, the author includes journal prompts to aid the reader in their own transformation and a bonus chapter about her travel companion, Marco, the dog.  

This book might not be an effective medium for encouraging personal growth for individuals unfamiliar with tarot cards, which introduce each development period. For instance, chapter 4 began with card number 9 in the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Hermit. There was a brief description of the card highlighting how to interpret it when it appears in a reading. Then the author talked about a period in her life that corresponded to this card, in this case, her return to Vietnam in shame resulting in social isolation. 

There were some misused phrases and terms resulting from the fact that the author’s first language is not English, but they were minor and did not detract from the understanding. The first few chapters are a bit repetitive. However, the author smoothes the storytelling out as the book progresses. 

There was a lot of information in the first chapter. In what is supposed to be an overview of alchemy, Thai discussed the definition of alchemy, the seven chakras, the caduceus, the eye of Horus and the Pineal gland, and the Hero’s Journey. This section might have been better focused on just the tarot cards and how they relate to the Hero’s Journey since there was little mention of the seven chakras, the caduceus, or the eye of Horus and the Pineal gland in the rest of the book. 

The transformational story Vi Vi Thai shares with the reader in Living Through Alchemy: A transformational journey to freedom was compelling. Marco’s story was sweet as well. It’s a great book to start the new year!

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

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