In Epiphany you will find a seamless combination of interviews with people from all walks of life telling their individual stories of epiphanies, with author Elise Ballard’s reflections on these stories, and the people telling them. Both elements offer an uncommon opportunity to connect with the humanity behind the written voice. A book that informs us may be worth reading. A book that entertains may be a best-seller. A book that does both becomes a classic. It is rare to find a book like “Epiphany” that not only informs and entertains, but makes you feel like you know, and wish you could know better, the people you find within its pages.
It is an intriguing assortment of people, and reading how Elise connected with each of them pulled me in. Even some of the celebrities, such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Barry Manilow, were part of her personal network developed over her career as an actress, independent film-maker and producer (she produces Dr. Oz’ “YOU” DVD’s.) Others she reached out to specifically for this project, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nell Newman. The same holds true for the lesser-known subjects. Many are Elise’s long-time friends and colleagues, while others are people she met or was referred to while in the process of asking everyone she knew if they had ever had an epiphany.
“Epiphany” is not primarily a memoir, and yet an enchanting portrait of Elise is revealed, bit by bit, even in her brief introductions to each subject. For example, she writes about being mesmerized by the trailer for “Horse Boy, ” a documentary of author Rupert Isaacson and his family’s healing journey through Mongolia on horseback. She continues:
‘Rupert did the voice-over, but you could never really see his face, only his hair. Several weeks later I was driving down South Congress Avenue… when in my peripheral vision I saw a man on a horse… Wait, that man had longish blond hair and was on a horse… I pulled over, turned around, and screamed out my window at him, “Are you the Horse Boy guy?!” And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I’m hoping the same is true for me and Ms. Ballard, at least through her books!