The Guru is a read that takes you by surprise. A work of contemporary fiction and debut novel by Sean Hicks, we follow David Ratcliff as he wallows in his quite mediocre life. It is only by a perfect storm of events does his luck change for the better and he finds his fate intertwined with the nationally acclaimed self-help guru, Christopher Maxwell. The question remains for David is: Does he truly want to change his luck for the better and willing to give up everything to join the booming, but parasitic self-help industry?
The premise for The Guru is interesting because the premise takes the self-help industry to the extreme(including a cabal of “gurus”). I was not prepared for what awaited me.
The book begins with a slow burn, following David, is an earnest millennial, who walks continually on the line of being broke, hoping to find someone, and wishing his life was something more. Enter Christopher Maxwell and his “get rich” program of self-mastery, which involves not only one book but a whole program that rivals Beachbody.
Hicks is able to wrap humor, but also real tension into his pages. Everything is not as it seems with Maxwell and his self-help empire. It keeps the reader turning the pages and rushing through, to find out exactly what happens. David is very much an everyman as far as his motivations and desires. Most authors miss this element of fiction by focusing more on plot but Hicks does not neglect his characters. What shines the most from David is that he is very much a real person and relatable.
The only true criticisms involve how fast things begin to escalate and how the explanations for certain events come late. There is also a tendency for things to be almost too convenient, such as when David is listening to Maxwell’s self-help book and the Guru himself, is giving a seminar nearby the next day. In the long run, these coincidences do not hurt the story, but they do tend to be a little too neat for the more careful reader.
Do not let those small hurdles stop you from enjoying a book that will give you an afternoon full of chuckles!