"A fire was burning in me, and I could not determine whether I or God had started it."

Born in Haiti, author Milien dreamed of a successful career and a happy marriage, but the latter kept eluding him. Things went well with his first serious flame until jealous friends cast a voodoo spell on him. As he overcame the evil forces, another girl, a fellow student who adored him, died tragically young. Recovering from that trauma, Milien found Rosita. When Haiti was in political crisis, the two moved to New York. But it seemed that Milien was again under some dark cloud, and the relationship fell apart. As well as attending college, he took his religion seriously, converted to Mormonism, and moved to Utah. After his Mormon friends sought without success to find him a bride, he had a passionate but unstable relationship that proved exhausting. Following some years of inner contemplation, he left the Mormon Church, garnered academic achievements, pursued his career, and was finally ready for the perfect partner.

Milien—educator, artist, and guitarist—recounts his saga honestly, often humorously, citing his flaws frankly as he strives for the ideal relationship. He paints a fair-minded portrait of his home country also. He had a colorful childhood in Haiti, but a visit after the regime change made him realize he no longer wanted to live there; US citizenship and American life were his best options. He intersperses recollections of his professional and romantic experiences with philosophical perspectives. He mulls the differences between organized religion and a freer, more meditative practice of spirituality, offering wisdom gleaned from all the world’s great religions with an emphasis on Buddhism with its call to “develop independent and detached minds.” His neatly organized memoir is a zestful read that will be especially interesting to fellow immigrants who have chosen America as their new home.

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