Greetings from Utopia Park by Claire Hoffman audiobook

Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood

By Claire Hoffman
Read by Andi Arndt

HarperAudio, HarperCollins 9780062338846
8.02 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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In this engrossing, provocative, and intimate memoir, a young journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers. When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart. At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. At the Maharishi School, Claire learns Maharishi’s philosophy for living and meditates with her class. With the promise of peace and enlightenment constantly on the horizon, every day is infused with magic and meaning. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood. Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

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Summary

Summary

In this engrossing, provocative, and intimate memoir, a young journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers.

When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart.

At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. At the Maharishi School, Claire learns Maharishi’s philosophy for living and meditates with her class. With the promise of peace and enlightenment constantly on the horizon, every day is infused with magic and meaning. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood.

Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The mystery of faith may never be resolved, but Claire Hoffman helps us understand the influence that strong beliefs exert in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. This book is personal and scholarly, as well as passionate and honest, which make for a thrilling read.” Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“Claire Hoffman brilliantly captures a world that is at once familiar and exotic, yet it is more than that. It is about the meaning of faith in the modern world and how the simple desire for spiritual connection can sometimes lead to devastating consequences. I love it.” Reza Aslan, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“With unflinching candidness, journalist Hoffman provides an examination of growing up within the transcendental meditation movement.” Library Journal
”Wonderfully intimate: a cautionary tale that develops into one of inspiring self-determination.” Booklist
“A cleareyed critique that generously accounts for humanity’s ‘profoundly sincere and motivated’ quest for happiness and peace.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Claire Hoffman

Author Bio: Claire Hoffman

Claire Hoffman writes for national magazines and holds a master’s degree in religion from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She was a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone. She serves on the board of her family foundation, the Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as ProPublica and the Columbia School of Journalism. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 8.02
Audience: Adult
Language: English