Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 1999
“There is no miracle greater than love,” write the authors of the latest in the very successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Chicken Soup for the Soul arrived in stores in 1993, and since then, over seven million copies have sold in the series. There is Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul, for those who have faced cancer; Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, “stories of courage, compassion and creativity in the workplace.” Upcoming volumes will feature Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul, Jewish Soul, Pet Lover’s Soul, Laughing Soul, Grieving Soul, Unsinkable Soul, etc. At this writing Teenage Soul II is number twenty-two on Amazon’s bestseller list. The series has even inspired a parody: Chicken Soup…for your butt.
So, what’s the attraction? The stories are brief, usually two to three pages, easily read during a commute, or the few moments before sleep. Reader comments on Amazon.com reveal the allure: “This book is for everyone, even if you don’t like to read…I lent it to a friend who also lent it to a friend. Both of them don’t like to read, even kind of hate reading, and they loved it too.” The stories are inspirational, but conclude without a guilt-inducing moral.
Classic literature it is not; it is storytelling in its most abbreviated form. In one story we meet two young people in Germany during World War II, one in a concentration camp, the other free; they are reunited on a blind date fifteen years later and tell the tale on Oprah. In another, we’re taken to Northern Ireland where a Protestant man meets a Catholic woman: of course, true love conquers all. With such chapter headings as “finding true love,” “overcoming obstacles,” and “the flame that burns,” this collection will appeal to the romantic.
Including the genuinely moving and the merely maudlin, this latest bowl of Chicken Soup is sure to have something for everyone.