The Holy Man, by Susan Trott

My Copy: 9781573225328 (image from

“If you look on everyone you meet as a holy person, you will be happy.” (pg 5)

This oft-repeated quote by the Holy Man (named Joe) sums it up just right.

This book, and it’s sequel, were given to me for my birthday by my mother. She had a copy already, but wanted me to have my own, with a little note that called it a “little book of wisdom.”

Well, she was right.

The Holy Man is not a complex book. It doesn’t preach and is good for anyone of any religious persuasion that I can think of. Instead the whole premise is a holy man lives on a mountain and every spring pilgrims arrive to see him. The line is always long and he sees the pilgrims only a few hours a day, some of who he has gotten to know well and they’ve stayed with him in the warmer months. In the winter he is alone. But the monks this year notice he’s been looking for something, perhaps the one meant to replace him as he’s only getting older and the winter approaches.

For probably half the book we get stories of some of the pilgrims in the line and why they are there. For the other half, we get the stories of the monks and of Joe himself, the observations and learning they make. And it isn’t hard for anyone to put themselves in a monk’s or pilgrim’s place.

The chapters are short and the wisdom long. It’s a book to absorb and smile over. I found myself giggling a few times and thinking for a few long moments about what had happened.

I recommend this book to anyone. Seriously, anyone. It’s worth buying or borrowing, whatever you choose. And it’s probably even a good “read to the kids” book for many chapters because they’re short and if there’s a valuable lesson you want to teach to a future-philosopher wunderkind or something…it’s a good one!

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