Bigger Pete | Critical Book Review

In Elizabeth Bodien’s memoir, “Bigger Pete,” readers are plunged into a realm where the boundaries between life and death blur, as the author grapples with profound spiritual encounters through automatic writing. Joelene Pynnonen provides a critical perspective on this unconventional Ars Metaphysica publication.

Unveiling the Unseen

Bodien’s journey into automatic writing, initially a means to generate poetic material, unexpectedly evolves into a conduit for conversations with departed loved ones, notably her brother Pete. Afflicted by Alzheimer’s and existing health issues, Pete’s diminishing communicative abilities find an unexpected bridge through Bodien’s unique writing practice.

A Memoir in Motion

“Bigger Pete” unfolds as a transcript of in-the-moment automatic writing, creating an immediacy seldom found in traditional memoirs. The emotional turmoil of witnessing Pete’s health decline is vividly portrayed, devoid of the retrospective lens that time often provides. The narrative reads more like a raw, published diary than a polished memoir.

Spirits or Psyche?

Readers are challenged to interpret Bodien’s experiences—whether she communicates with spirits or delves into her own psyche. Skepticism regarding the authenticity of these encounters is acknowledged but overridden by Bodien’s decision to trust them. The love and dedication to her ailing brother resonate throughout the narrative, regardless of one’s interpretation.

Navigating Life and Death

A central theme in “Bigger Pete” explores the intertwined nature of life and death. Bodien draws parallels between her writing’s ability to breach the veil separating worlds and her own near-death experience, offering readers a unique perspective on her brother’s journey between realms.

Transcript Dominance

While labeled a memoir, “Bigger Pete” predominantly consists of transcribed conversations, raising questions about contextual clarity. The scarcity of explanatory notes leaves readers pondering how Bodien distinguishes voices and maintains awareness during these exchanges. The absence of such details leaves a narrative gap that could enhance comprehension.

A Different Memoir Experience

Experimental, deeply personal, and steeped in faith, “Bigger Pete” diverges from conventional memoirs. It stands as a testament to enduring love, a quest for understanding life’s complexities, and an exploration of the psychologically intense journey Bodien shares with her readers.

Book Details

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Ars MetaphysicaNonfiction / Memoir248 pages9781620068977

In Elizabeth Bodien’s memoir, “Bigger Pete,” readers are plunged into a realm where the boundaries between life and death blur, as the author grapples with profound spiritual encounters through automatic writing. Joelene Pynnonen provides a critical perspective on this unconventional Ars Metaphysica publication. Unveiling the Unseen Bodien’s journey into automatic writing, initially a means to…