Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit
Author: By Stella Vance
Reviewed By: Anne Holmes for the NABBW
This book is a wild ride through the major decades of the author’s life. It’s divided into sections titled, of course, “The Seventies,” “The Eighties,” “The Nineties,” and of course, “The New Millenium.” There’s even an appendix, which includes notes and an appendix. I must say, in telling her story, Author Vance takes the reader where many autobiographers wouldn’t dare.
The story begins in the 70s, when Vance is a Christian zealot. We “ride along” with her, as she is betrayed at age 21 by the first love of her life, and see how this impacts the rest of her life. After the betrayal, Vance, educated as a teacher, embarks on a life of fearless adventure — the sort of adventures that might be portrayed in film by an actress like Angelina Jolie.
Vance travels the world, adding notches to her lipstick case, taking lovers from all over the world. She survives harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, anorexia, bulimia, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, she gradually realizes that life is just a game, and death is just another dimension.
Putting aside a fear of judgment about her life choices, Vance goes deeply into the experiences that led her to be the person she is today. Not many of us would be brave enough to expose ourselves so freely. Clearly the author has a great level of compassion for herself and her choices in life and graciously shares the insight she has gained.
This is a memoir that intertwines Vance’s life with a more global experience any reader can relate to,and possibly even aspire to. Her spiritual perspective on the events of her life is refreshing, and her compassion for the players in her life’s story is heartwarming and inspirational.
No matter what religion you subscribe to, whether you are an atheist or a spiritual non-conformist, Vance presents the story of her particular spiritual journey in such a way that even those who may not agree with her conclusions can sympathize in some way with her story because it’s basically a saga about the human experience.
As you read it, you share her experience with life’s ups and downs and in the middle of it all wrestling with life’s fundamental questions. Who am I? What’s my purpose? What is it all about? These questions drive us all on some level. This book is Vance’s story about how these questions have driven her life, and the realizations she has arrived at as a result.You’ll want to read this book, if only to find whether or not this true story has a happy ending.