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Reviewed by Leonard William Smuts for Readers' Favorite
Life teaches us lessons through our experiences - some good, some not so good. The secret is not to miss the lessons! In writing Choosing Magic, Karina Pacific reflects on her own life, from humble beginnings in Mexico to a happier ending in Los Angeles. Raised by her single mother, she never knew her father – an issue that was to haunt her into adulthood. Her mother was withdrawn, fighting her own demons and working long hours to provide for her daughter. Apart from lacking a father figure, Karina’s upbringing was disrupted by frequent changes of home and school, physical and mental abuse, a lack of love, and no guidance regarding life skills. A move to America offered new opportunities, but the family dysfunction remained. Forced to adapt, Karina went into survival mode but retained an instinctive spirituality and faith in the future. After leaving high school, she moved away from her mother. She cherished her new freedom, growing up and making choices, both good and bad. Boyfriends came and went, along with work instability. Then life changed as if by magic. Marriage followed, a daughter was born, and stability was found.
Choosing Magic is more than just scattered memories of life’s ups and downs. It is about a triumph over adversity and the valuable lessons learned along the way. Karina Pacific describes her formative years and her transition to adulthood frankly, sometimes sharing intimate details of unstable relationships that will resonate with many readers. She makes the important point that those who lack love while growing up may struggle to give and receive love in later life. Through all her trials she retains her faith and optimism, but cautions that we should be very specific in what we pray for! The characters portrayed are real and presented with all their vices and virtues. I particularly enjoyed the list of insights at the end of the book which gives sage advice and rounds off her journey. This book will provide inspiration to those who have followed the same path, reminding us that we should never lose sight of the light. It is a testimony to the strength of character, perseverance, an enquiring mind, and the will to do better. A fascinating life with a happy ending!