Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review: The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook

The book is, The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook by Denise Alvarado.

This is a book that is allegedly written from first-hand knowledge and experience in the tradition of "Voodoo Hoodoo". Ironically almost everything in the book can be found online or in easily obtainable books. Very little information in this book seems to actually originate with any person-to-person teachings the author claimed to have received. This would not be a problem had the author not repeat her claim that the book is filled with the teachings she grew up with. How can that be when she references so many source books and when much of the content seems to have been pulled from the Lucky Mojo website?

I will be honest. One of the biggest problems I have with this book is the author's seemingly made-up claim of a tradition of "Voodoo Hoodoo". There is no such thing. What the author is referring to is in fact called New Orleans Voodoo or Louisiana Voodoo. There is no need to invent a new name for a tradition that already has one. One of the reasons why this false notion of "Voodoo Hoodoo" is such a sore topic for me is because I had an unfortunate experience with a self-described witch who claimed to practice hoodoo who fought for the author and claimed there was such a tradition...because the author said so. It is so because the author says it so, right? Of course I disagree with that idiotic view.

The "bad" of the book, other than what I touched on above, is the grammatical errors and unfortunate editing. Some of the spells are repeated in the book. Most of the recipes are taken from online sources or from books and then have seemingly been tweaked and presented as if they were a cherished secret handed down through the family. The spells are also simplistic and when the reader gets to the section on the Psalms, and if the reader is like me, they will be left with the impression that the author has no clue how to use the Psalms in work. Some of the Psalms recommend for various situations have nothing to do with those situations. I believe these errors stem from the fact that the author engages in writing on topics she herself has little experience with. In effect, she is writing to fill pages.

The "good" of the book is that it is a decent introduction. If this is the first book the reader reads on the subject of New Orleans Voodoo or even Hoodoo then I'm sure they will like the content. However, if the reader has been around the block a few times then they will likely find little to nothing redeeming in the book.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, I give this book a 3. I would not recommend spending money on this book. If you must read it then I would recommend checking your local library to see if they have a copy.

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