"Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a "secondary rationalization" of instinctual drives."
It almost seems redundant to review this book. I'm not sure that it is something one should judge, rather it seems more interesting to query what response it evokes. Here we have an educated scholar of a man trying to make sense of what seems an unfathomable experience in the parlance of his trade, as it was written by a man who was also a neurologist and psychologist. Frankl's slightly removed way of describing his experiences within concentration camps is reminiscent of the way one deals with experiences which are too horrible to deal with front on. It is reminiscent of the way I've heard people who suffer horrible illnesses recount their struggles. Survival memories are not about the full horror, they are about the small victories one finds to keep going and the monotony; and the small almost seemingly irrelevant details one recalls of horrible experiences.
On the one hand, I can't imagine how horrible Frankl's experiences were, and yet, on the other hand, the way he recounts them are familiar in the way I've survived some unpleasant experiences in my life and some family and friend's health struggles. The essential elements are survival, hope and the desire to find some reason to make sense of those trials.
It is an interesting insight in what it means to be human and what it takes to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. My takeaway is that you can survive anything, if there's something in your life that spurs you on; and that is a powerful message. I feel that everyone would have a different take on this book and that makes it even more impressive.
5 out of 5, I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on this.