There have been lots of books about eclipses – a few books about eclipse chasers – but “Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser” is the first one to go past the celestial phenomenon to focus on the deeper psychological phenomenon being experienced by a relatively small group of people who have made ‘totality’ a part of their lives.
Russo, a clinical psychologist in Belfast, Ireland, has been chasing eclipses since 1999 and has always been curious with the awesome power totality seems to have to change people. In this book, she presents an analysis of the survey responses and first-person interviews she conducted with a selection of eclipse chasers as part of a phenomenological research project. In gathering the data, she asks chasers to reflect upon themselves: to ponder why they chase – what things mean – and most importantly, what they are experiencing during totality. The answers to these questions are frequently surprizing, but it is the psychological analysis, insight and conclusions drawn by Russo that make this book unique. Many of us who have been chasing eclipses for over two decades – whether we have devoted time to deep reflection or not – are perhaps too close to the experience to understand it objectively. It is, after all, one of the most powerful subjective experiences ever. But Russo helps us to lift the veil on our patterns, our traits, our tendencies – to put our compulsions in a wider context – to partially depersonalize an experience that has become part of our DNA. Through the process of stepping back and ‘seeing the forest,’ eclipse chasers are here understood as a group with a clarity never explored before.
A must to compliment the bookshelves of lifetime chasers and curious first-timers alike. Available at your favourite bookstore or on Amazon.