Thursday, February 09, 2017

review: The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan

The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ
by Andrew Klavan
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071801734X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718017347
I really like this book. Usually I fear reading conversion stories that are published by large Christian companies. Often, they are ghost-written by a Christian ghost-writer and feels very cookie-cutter by-the-book. Often those conversion stories don't feel quite literary. And no, I'm not into literary memoirs, but there is something to be said for actually seeing the personality of the writer and knowing one is reading words that are chosen by the book's subject instead of words chosen or written by a ghostwriter. But hey, that's just me. The writer in me can spot sameness in any book and apparently, there's a Christian style of non-fiction/memoir writing.

Anyway, moving on.

Another thing that's good about this book is that feels as if it was written by an excellent writer. There is a self-searching and an honesty that is apparent in this spiritual memoir. The book is ruminative and revelatory and much care is taken to show the inner workings of the memoirist. He talks about having to push past his knowledge that his background might have set him up to reject his faith in order to fit into White Christian Culture. Because the writer of this book loves books, the memoir has many literary references as well as many dissections of emotional, psychological, and spiritual challenges on the way to his conversion.  And he's very honest about his challenges, giving -- so to speak-- "a knife to any reader who might wish to stab him with" some supposed 'reason' for his conversion.  Most Christian non-fiction --in my experience-- just isn't that honest. And that's what I liked about this memoir.

One of the challenges he mentions was when he had that moment, the false epiphany of "No God." It reminded of what happened to William James, Henry James' Brother. If I recall, James had been walking through life when suddenly it occurred to him that God did not exist. It was such a sudden realization that it freed him, supposedly. Except that Klavan couldn't rest in that sudden (false) realization that God didn't exist. He pushed past it.

The book is very readable, insightful, and a great read. Highly recommended. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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