Sex, the Enneagram & Rock’n’Roll is a story of mental and spiritual growth, told by a person who gradually finds the courage to take the necessary steps. I would like to begin by saying that the blurb on the back of this book does not do it justice. I came into this experience with the preconceived notion that it was going to be all about how Cheallaigh forms a band and falls into a Morrissey obsession, but instead was greeted with a narrative that follows one woman’s journey of finding her voice.
With the opening of the story, I could immediately tell that one of the teachers of the Enneagram classes, Russ, was going to be a thorny character for me. I found it personally hard to read parts where the author expressed her adulations. It was a relationship that I could tell was going to be problematic. In my own life, I have ended up in similar situations where I feel more inextricably tied to a person than they even know, and it is a hard thing to untangle yourself from. However, this was one of the many different strands of the story that end up with fulfilling resolutions, and I was happy that she was able to sort things out.
Moving on, my favorite line in the book is a quote from Part Two. It reads: “A part of me thinks that playing the drums along to my iPod alone in an empty building is going to get me killed.” When I read this I laughed so hard that I cried—It spoke to me deeply about my own fears of unworthiness. I never play the drums in front of other people because I think that I am no good. I am literally afraid it would cause an upset in other people; that would call me a poseur. And this is just one of the ways that I was able to connect… Another example comes from near the end of the book, when Cheallaigh is finally able to sort out her feelings concerning her father. For years I have had an unhealthy relationship with my own father, and having gone through my own emptying-out (for a very similar problem) a few months ago, the release felt so visceral. Knowing that another person has been able to make this voyage and cross to the other side fills me with so much happiness.
The single failing of this book is that it needs a copyeditor. As a first edition, the grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors were distracting, especially because they could be corrected by anyone who does a read-through. On the bright side, the font size is nice and big; easily readable. The spacing and arrangement of the text on the page also lend themselves to easy reading.
I would like to note that I read this book with no knowledge of the Enneagram. I did not think I would need to know, going in, and then I decided that I would check it out afterwards, and try to read the book with no prior knowledge. It would be helpful if the author could describe what the different numbers mean, but I could extrapolate enough from context clues.
Overall, the book is written in a style that is very stream-of-consciousness. It works well, though, because the stories build upon themselves and the author’s strong voice carries a veracity that ties everything together.