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The year she turned 50, Oxenhandler (The Eros of Parenthood) deeply longed for three things: a house, a man and spiritual healing. This memoir tells of her 12-month attempt to fulfill these longings while reflecting on "the quintessentially human act of wishing," with all its power and pitfalls. She goes house hunting, visits places of spiritual sanctuary and nurtures a new relationship-all while struggling to overcome her tendency to be a "terrible wish snob" who balks at the notion of voicing worldly and altruistic wishes together in the same breath, of mixing the profane and the divine more generally. She considers wishing in its broader contexts: mythology, American history, folktales, theology, superstition, philosophy, New Age and psychology. Her philosophy/religious-studies education, guilt-prone sensibility (she's half-Jewish and was raised Catholic) and 30-year history as a practicing Buddhist complicate her careful study and make for a smart read. Oxenhandler does little to resolve or even fully explore the crises that set her on her quest (seven years earlier, an affair ended her marriage as well as her place in her spiritual community), and her pat conclusions hardly match the strength of the work as a whole. Nonetheless, readers will enjoy watching Oxenhandler realize her dreams through diligence, hard work and a "willing suspension of disbelief" in the captivating magic of wishing. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.