It could be that “The Chakra Diaries”, by Becca Chopra, wanders too far into the realm of trauma, healing, and redemption to be able to recommend to avid chick lit readers. It could also be The Chakra Diaries builds off the chick lit genre, giving readers a chance to dig deeper and deal with serious emotional issues.

The title certainly harkens back to what many consider the first popular chick lit book, “Bridget Jones’ Diary”. And the cover looks inviting enough, but I was warned this book would be off the beaten path of chick lit. And boy is that true.

First, the pace moves more quickly than a chick lit novel. The part of chick lit I find most seductive is the way time ebbs and flows as the characters’ lives progress normally. A day shopping feels like a day of shopping, and cooking for five friends in preparation for a last-minute dinner party feels as stressful, hectic and fun as cooking for a dinner party in real life. Friends show up unexpectedly at the door, the phone never rings for a date at the right time. It all feels real, as if I’m eavesdropping on a close friend’s life.

“The Chakra Diaries” is different. Chapter one introduces Rebecca, the main character who runs a Chakra workshop. Rebecca tells the reader from a first-person narrative about her Chakra workshops and that she’s asked her students to keep diaries about their journey toward balancing their Chakras. The rest of the book’s chapters are her students’ diaries.

That’s where things take a turn for the painful.

The diaries are quick, and feel almost too short. In just a handful of pages, the reader learns about a character’s whole life – literally from their childhood fears, through extreme young-adult situations, into blossoming and balanced adulthoods.

If short life-stories don’t bother you, then be aware: some of the events are too extreme for my liking. In unpleasantly graphic descriptions, we learn about childhood rape, incest, death, loss, and abuse – to name a few. Honest confession: I tried, but couldn’t finish reading this book.  Even though the stories were all headed toward a path of healing and redemption, it was all too intense for me. At one point I was crying my eyes out.

This isn’t the right kind of book to pair with a wine. Wine is joyful, fun, and flirty. This book deals with issues that many people must come to grips with, and I’m sure reading it can do a lot of help. I can imagine that it’s comforting to know you’re not alone if you’ve experienced extreme emotional pain. And when that help is needed, it’s better to be sober.

So rather than pick something off the vine, I’d recommend grabbing a relaxing cup of Good Earth Original tea – and definitely a box of tissues.

♥ Syrah