Edmund W. Gordon, John M. Musser Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Yale University

January 3, 2022

“Leaning on Cedars is an intelligent young man’s reflection on life and its meaning, captured in vignettes that are inspired by fictionalized versions of lived and virtual experience. Shurtleff uses fictional characters and situations to describe the working of his mind as he explores the mental processes by which he seeks to better understand himself without revealing to the reader the personal meanings of this struggle. But the focus on personal meaning is made unnecessary since, at several points, he makes reasonably clear the compass by which his travel is being guided. The author thoughtfully revisits points on this compass and celebrates them in the lives of his three key characters. His storyline is engaging. His use of dialogue is very effective. This young mind is esthetically agile as the author captures sense of place. This reader is drawn to this work by its natural talent that flows from a thoughtfully anchored mind. It is not often that we get to be privy to the mental and emotional struggles of an intelligent young male as he seeks to make sense of life. I found myself reading one line again and again: ‘To seek thyself and know thyself is to live and experience what the gift of wisdom brings to the soul.’ ”

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