Having grown up in the evangelical world, gone through youth groups, rallies and missions trips – and with my personal faith journey changing and evolving still to this day – I was eager to dive into When We Were On Fire, a memoir of an “evangelical survivor.”
After the first couple chapters, I was worried this would just be overtly critical and cynical without offering any real critique. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find it much more on the “show” side than “tell,” taking the reader through the author’s journey through evangelical obsession, gradual disillusion, spiritual exhaustion and eventual depression, and then slowly reconstructing her faith and her relationship with the faith community. Read the rest of this entry »
I hated this book, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads.
Less Than Zero, the debut novel from Bret Easton Ellis, is probably one of the most hopeless, lifeless, plotless stories I have ever read. It’s about a group of rich kids in LA wasting their lives away on drugs, crime and excess. There’s no remorse, no development, no consequences. No one to root for. No one to be redeemed. No judgement or message from the author. No feeling of hope or even a hint of resolution at the end.
And that’s where the horror kicks in: none of the characters seem to care at all. They have nothing to live for, nothing to aim for. Read the rest of this entry »
Brutal, ugly, horrific. Eloquent, beautiful, inspiring. Those are the conflicting emotions conjured up while reading this novel. Sapphire’s thoughtful and innovative prose brings Precious Jones – an illiterate 16-year-old with two children from her father – to life, draws you into her tragic world and carries you through her journey of making her life her own for the first time.
Here’s the premise: “Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.”
Similar to Hubert Selby Jr.’s Requiem for a Dream, Push ignores conventional grammar and spelling rules so as to give the reader a first-hand account of Harlem life through the eyes of Precious. This approach is extremely effective, and I highly recommend this novel. The story is grim and real, but incredibly hopeful. Certainly not for the faint-hearted, but a powerful testimony to the life-changing power of language.
I’m normally not a fan of non-fiction, self-help books. Yes, they can contain helpful information, but I prefer getting lost in the world of fiction. However, when I do happen to stumble across a book that resonates with me, I know it’s special for one of two reasons: 1) I’m encountering something I wish I had read about 10 years ago, or 2) I feel like I could be great friends with the author.
101 Secrets for Your Twenties, the debut book from author/speaker Paul Angone, fits both bills. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m a man. I don’t have kids. I have no personal connection to school shootings. Nonetheless, We Need to Talk About Kevin felt incredibly real, and it hit home.
Here’s the synopsis of Lionel Shriver’s novel: Read the rest of this entry »
Some stories can shake me to the core. Today, I finished one such story.
I’ve heard talk about the film Requiem for a Dream for several years now, how it’s considered one of the most disturbing and hopeless movies of all time.
Sounds fun, right?
Truth is beautiful. Sometimes, it’s brutal.
“Writing is hard — real hard. It’s work. Somehow, you never talk about that in your college composition class.” – Jeff Goins
The more I write, the more I realize this harsh truth, and the more I [falsely] believe I’m alone in this struggle.