Originally posted on LJ on Jan 10, 2011
Today I’ll be reviewing “Following the Sun: A Practical Guide to Egyptian Religion” by Sharon Laborde. I wanted to start off this review by noting that I have a bit of a bias about this author (not so much the book itself), as I talk with her on various Kemetic forums. Please keep this in mind while reading this review.
This book has received a lot of fire from the Kemetic community. Perhaps I should rephrase that- the author of this book has received a lot of fire. Not in relation to the book, but in relation to her anti-KO stance. So needless to say, I was interested to see what this book was about, and if it would meet my expectations.
In short, the answer is no. This book disappointed me on many levels, though I can’t say that it was unexpected. There were many things that irritated me about this book, though a few things stick out in particular. Those being- the author’s sourcing, the author’s tone/writing style, and the actual content of the book.
My biggest complaint about this book is the sourcing (or lack thereof). For me, if you’re not an actual Egyptologist, you have better have damned good sourcing. Otherwise, your work means nothing. There are many tidbits in this book that I have never seen before. Many little facts that I have never read about before. And while this is normally good- because the author neglects to source much of anything, I can’t trust anything that is written. So to me, the lack of sourcing make the book totally useless. I can’t vouch for the validity of much of anything in this book because the sourcing sucks.
My second issue with this book is the author’s tonation while writing. I assume that she wanted to be considered “jovial” or easy to approach. However, it just makes the author appear dumbed down, or that the author feels that you the reader are dumb. It was so frustrating. Along with her tone, I didn’t like that she made it sound like Kemeticism IS this or IS that. There is no room for grey. No wiggle room. Nothing irritates me more than a black and white book that speaks as though it is god and knows all. Ugh. She is quick to call certain theories “zany” or outlandish. She is very harsh towards ideas that are not of her own. Along the lines of harsh content, both her Intro and Conclusion had “stories” in them that made reference to people who misunderstood Kemeticism. That’s fine, but the way she relates these stories to the reader is more of a “I met this person, and they said something stupid in relation to Kemeticism. And now that you’ve read my book, you won’t be as stupid as they were!” What if the people she referenced happened to read her book and they saw her caustic remarks? I would feel aweful about that on so many levels. It’s really saddening.
And finally, I didn’t like the content of the book. I felt that the content wasn’t well researched at all. And you can definitely see the biases of the author through the content (i.e. a total slap to anything remotely KO in nature, or her constant references to the 18th dynasty- a dynasty that she is totally into). The biases would slowly eat at me, and annoy me. To me, an author should promote an unbiased and well researched book. And this book is neither.
All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book. To anyone. Especially not to a beginner- which is ironic, because that is who the book is aimed toward. If someone were to read this book, and not know anything about Kemeticism, they would have their asses handed to them online (which I’ve seen happen to a certain user who seems to only know about Kemeticism through this book). Plus, because the sourcing is horrible, I am afraid that some of the facts or scenarios laid out in this book are incorrect, thereby causing problems for the newb who stumbles their way online.
I feel sad that this review is so negative, but I honestly can’t think of anything that I really liked about this book. As I said above, I wouldn’t recommend it.