After my experience with Blue Parakeet, Zondervan offered to make me a part of their blogosphere. Basically, that means I get their books for free a few weeks before they come out so long as I review them on my blog and Amazon. It's a great deal. The most recent book I finished is called Assaulted by Joy: The Redemption of a Cynic by Stephen Simpson. Publish date: October, 2008 by Zodervan.
This is one of the most entertaining books I have read as of late, and definitely worth the read. The author does an excellent job communicating his story in an engrossing way. I could hot put the book down, and it kept me up late several nights in a row as a result. Karen couldn't stop reading it either.
Not only is it full of excellent anectdotes, but it is incredibly well written. Full of brilliant imagery (though also containing a rather large number of cliches), this story is one that helps the reader find hope in his or her life. Basically, the guy grew up as a nominal Christian, allowed his intellect to rule his life because he did not want to submit his entire world to Christ out of fear, became cynical as a result of his fear, and was forced out of his fear by having quadruplets.
The premise of the book is that we are all jerks. There is some aspect of our lives that we have difficulty forfeiting. The amazing thing is how often I found myself thinking that the book was about me. At the same life stages I have encountered similar problems, the main difference being our majors (he is psych., I am biblical studies) and the fact that karen is without child. My prayers have lately been, "dear God, don't let this story become too true for me, I can't handle quads. "
The good: Writing style is definitely a plus. instead of being a devotional, it is a confessional. It is full of brutal honesty and very light on how to apply it to one's own life. It is refreshing to see Christian literature about life rather than just a series of steps of how to be purposeful/well wed/disciplined/etc. At the end of each chapter, Simpson gives a very brief spiritual insight, never an instruction. It's just a great story/journey.
The Bad: Addictive ;). There are quite a few cliches, but they are easily overlooked. I do not agree with all of Simpson's theology, but that isn't a significant part of the book.
The grade: Solid A, nearly an A+.
Everyone should pick up a copy of this book. It is very approachable, endearing, and quite frankly interesting. It is simply an excellent story, adeptly told and captivating (and in my case, relevatory).
What did I personally get out of it most? A recognition of how much fear runs my life masquerading as cynicism/having it all together. It helped me diagnose a problem without forcing a solution down my throat.
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