Untangled by Henry Sienkiewicz is not a narrative or a memoir—it more closely resembles a textbook about life, relationships, and self-awareness. The book begins with the image of a Boy Scout troop taking a hike across an island. This image may fool the reader into thinking that the following pages will be filled with interesting anecdotes. In reality, Sienkiewicz uses the hike as a metaphor for life and how people choose to discover themselves and their surroundings.
A majority of the prose is packed with inspirational quotes, ideas, and terminology that at first glance seem mostly self-explanatory. The metaphor of the hike is never really expanded upon, just sort of peppered in between quotations and definitions as an illustration. The ideas that Sienkiewicz addresses are both interesting and relevant. However, some readers may be left saying, “Yeah, so?” Moreover, the metaphor falls flat—it is superficial and fails to capture interest because it is clearly used as only a vehicle for vague ideas.
The questions and concepts raised in Untangled are interesting, relevant, and full of truth. As a psychological textbook, it introduces important terminology for thinking about contemplation and self-awareness. However, for the average reader, the book falls short of its mark. The real life examples are flat, uninteresting, and do not apply to the majority of people. Sienkiewicz neglects to connect his ideas to any practical application. He asks questions and suggests ideas, but never applies them to everyday life.
This book is a great idea if the reader wishes to springboard a discussion about self-awareness, but not helpful to the reader looking for advice.