“He says that this world is part heaven and part hell, and that every second, inside of me and out, I’m standing at the convergence of the two, at the corner of damned and divine.” Josh James Riebock, Heroes and Monsters
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15
When I heard about this book, and saw the trailer for it, my curiosity swelled.
Josh James Riebock knows the struggle too. In his latest book, Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at the Struggle within All of Us, Riebock begins his story as the child passenger in the wrecked car of his drunk-driving father. In the aftermath of the accident, in the shredded corn field, Riebock describes an encounter with a scarecrow named “Jack” who turns out to be a Christ-like representation that appears again and again throughout his life.
This book is an honest, transparent look into the struggle we all have between life in this flesh and having faith in something bigger, a faith in Christ that haunts us once we have encountered His presence. Our frailty as humans, given to sinful behavior often makes it challenging to enter into a relationship with Christ, without stumbling through it.
He recounts his journey with sincerity and familiarity.
My favorite part comes somewhere near the middle when Josh gets baptised. I love his description of the moment when Christ finally grabs hold of him and won’t let go. I found myself emotional and teary over this awesome passage.
I love the message of this book. I wanted to love reading this book. The cover grabbed me and I immediately grew antsy to dive in and find out what lurked between the covers. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to really get into this book from a style perspective. The book reads like a personal journal of sorts, The addition of hand-drawn sketches contributes to its journalistic feel. It’s a bit “stream of consciousness” in it’s presentation which I really do appreciate in small doses. However, here, I felt this method actually diminished the impact of his story. The sorrowful intensity of this story could pack more punch had a more accessible narrative style been used. While reading this book I felt as if I were watching a movie shot by amateurs with a hand-held camera–all that jostling and shaking, frankly, just detracted from the message.
One other distraction I found mildly irritating was Riebock’s over use of exclamation points (!!!). While I suppose it fits with his stylistic approach, still it bothered me and made the writing feel more juvenile that it should.
It pains me to say this but the bottom line for this book, is that the jostling style completely took away from the the depth and intensity of the story. Instead of allowing the words to have further impact, the some-what scattered style only distracted from the beautiful, Christ-filled message of redemption and forgiveness and hope.
After watching the trailer again, I have decided that this book would be a fantastic audio book. I watched a few of his book tour videos on youtube and undeniably, Riebock is a fantastic storyteller, which leaves me disappointed that I didn’t feel that way as I read his book.
What do you think?
*Subscribers can view the video HERE
*This book was provided to me, for free, for the purpose of my review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure HERE.
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