February 11, 2020

Book Review: Gemini

Gemini (It's Written in the Stars, #3)Gemini by Sterling Children's
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When my partner and I first met, she was a long-time believer in the power of one’s zodiac signs to affect one’s life, and had done a bit of research on it, while I staunchly refused to countenance any such ideas. My Pentecostal parents raised me to believe that astrology (no matter which cultural version you prefer), numerology, palmistry, and tarot reading were all actively satanic, and even though, as an adult, I’ve stopped seeing Satan around every corner, I still used to dismiss astrology as ridiculous superstition, embraced only by the desperate or the gullible. There’s nothing like falling in love with someone who holds an opinion you once denounced to get a crash course in your own prejudices!! These days, I describe myself as a healthily skeptical seeker. Many things that were once considered just superstitions have since been proven to have a scientific basis; our ancestors simply observed and attempted to explain phenomena, without having access to the data necessary to puzzle out actual causes vs. effects. So I’m prepared to accept that a similar situation may be at work here, especially since some of the things I’ve read have really helped explain some issues that have arisen in my relationship with my partner over the years.

In some ways, I found these small books the most helpful on astrology I’ve ever tried. Ostensibly written for teens, they are written simply, but without any insulting tone, and though they don’t overwhelm with information, they definitely go deeper into the topic than most popular guidebooks or manuals, even most of those intended for adults. The range of relationship types—friendships, family members, love interests—are addressed, covering how each zodiacal sign is likely to interact with those who are the subjects of the individual books (in this case, Geminis). I really felt that I learned some useful information, I greatly enjoyed the illustrations, and I appreciated the fact that the writers acknowledged the fact that the stars are simply guides, and every human is an individual, that not everything they wrote may fit neatly into the readers’ lives!

The only thing I found genuinely unhelpful here was the fact that the date charts they provided—which should have been a very useful inclusion!—only covered a small cross-section of the population, those born from 1995-2006. The addition of just 3-4 additional pages could have covered a MUCH wider range, and even if these books WERE only being read by teens, those additional dates could have allowed them to understand more about their older and younger siblings, as well as their parents and grandparents. The writers did give a one-line aside, suggesting how to use the chart if the necessary dates weren’t listed, but it wasn’t very clear at all, and it took me ages to figure out what it meant; I have to imagine it would baffle many younger readers.

Still, I really like this series, and would recommend it to anyone who wants a more in-depth beginner’s introduction, for themselves or their children, to their signs and how they might have shaped their personalities. Unless you can find the books on a sale, as I did, they’re a bit expensive, so you probably wouldn’t want to pick up a complete set of them to learn more about the signs of others; a more comprehensive, all-in-one introductory volume would probably be more appropriate for that. But for the reader who just want to read up on one or two signs, they’re ideal, as they’re delightfully personal, and further personalizable, with some lined pages included on which to record the birthdates/signs of all one’s friends and family, allowing the owner to put greater effort into understanding and building better relationships with others. Those are skills that are important at any age, but really vital for teens who are attempting to grow out of the complete self-focus of childhood and into more outward-looking young adulthood. For that reason, if no other, I don’t think you have to fully believe in astrology to reap benefits from this book; the relationship advice it provides is just generally wise.

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