HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Life Is Not a Candy Store—It’s the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for Teens
Author: Tal Yanai
Cover Illustrator: Peri Poloni-Gabriel
Publisher: Bat-El Publishing, 2011
Related website: www.talyanai.com
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Yanai, Tal. Life Is Not a Candy Store—It’s the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for Teens (published in 2011 by Bat-El Publishing, 3400 Colville Place, Encino, CA 91436). Are you tired of being bullied or of hurting others? Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the peer pressures in your daily life? Is your life just not what you want it to be? Author Tal Yanai explores the road of life by looking at these and other issues that young people face with the hope of providing useful tools for making the necessary changes. In chapter one, he begins with the premise that the ultimate goal of life is the reunification with the Creative Force of the Universe, which we call God. Comparing this goal, which the Bible calls heaven, to being in the biggest candy store in the universe, he points out that this life isn’t the candy store but it’s a journey on the road leading to the candy store. If we want to reach our final destination, we must make the proper choices.
There are eight succeeding short chapters. In chapter two, Yanai talks about taking the first steps and reminds us that “the Universe will not challenge you to do something it thinks you cannot do.” In chapter three, he discusses dead-end roads such as drinking alcohol, doing drugs, stealing, lying, and bullying. The next three chapters, number four about lessons we learn, number five about reaching our goals, and number six about being aware, all have activities to help reinforce the points being made. Chapters seven and eight focus on seeking roadside assistance when it’s needed and avoiding road hazards. The final chapter is entitled “One More for the Road.” Will you find God around you? Will you make Him your partner in life? Will you choose your road wisely? Will you remember that life is not a candy story but the way to the candy store?
Author Tal Yanai was diagnosed with dyslexia in tenth grade, but it took years for him to come to terms with its effect and to change his attitude toward what life had handed him. Since then, he earned his teaching credentials, has taught in the Los Angeles public schools, and now teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel. His interaction with inner city students as well as privileged teens made him aware that many young people are discontented with their lives and feel that they lack alternatives. His intention in writing Life Is Not a Candy Store—It’s the Way to the Candy Store is to encourage them to think about the choices which they make every day and the ways that they interact with others. Depending on their religious convictions, some people may not necessarily agree with a few of the specific observations and suggestions in the book, but in general there is a lot of good advice on how to exercise our free will to take charge of our lives instead of always being victims. While the content is geared toward teenagers, it can apply equally to adults.