Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Bob Hostetler's Life Stinks... And Then You Die

Bob Hostetler is perhaps my favorite non-fiction author. He writes beautifully and harsh books that convey the Christian faith in a real and honest way. After reading Quit Going to Church I felt that I had read one of the few Christian books that impacted me, so when I saw that he had another book available to read, Life Stinks...And Then You Die, I wanted to read it more than most other books I've seen available to review. After reading this book, it's the first book I went through the Group Study on my own and began filling out the questions to.

Summary: Some people seem to pass by in the world as if they are carefree and without fear. While most of us can say that isn't how we are, we still avoid books of the Bible that seems to be truest to some of the realities we face. Hostetler takes a look at the book of Ecclesiastes, and looks over what we can learn from the author despite the fact he seems to have a negative outlook on the world. What instead we find is the direction back to God among the materials and worry that the world has to offer.

Characters: Well the book is centered around the one book of the Bible, that is supposedly written by Solomon, so he focuses much on who Solomon was, and other passages of his Biblical writings to correlate with the despair that he seems to be venting in Ecclesiastes. I think that Hostetler does a great job of correlating the Biblical verses back into others lives by also associating other stories as well with not being lost to despair, and how to not fall into it as easy. For example he gives a list of things to learn from this Biblical book like not depending on wealth, popularity, or even nothing bad to happen so when things don't go as plan our focus on God doesn't fall as easily. It's more of a read for yourself though to really get the depth of what is being said.

Writing: Another great thing that the author is capable of is balancing humor and seriousness. This book of the Bible is very serious, and when you first read it you might feel as down as the author writing it seemed to be. Yet with the author's ability to get you into the story and feeling you can relate you somehow feel your own outlook beginning to lift with what he is saying, and the more you read the more you want to center on the goals that can be derived from reading that book of the Bible. You can't ever prevent letdowns or depression, but you can try reset your mindset toward your faith instead of a lot of the earthly things responsible for letting it hit so heavy.

Plot: Well each chapter focuses on a message from the book that the author has derived to focus on. It starts heavy with the heaviest matter of just being bummed out, but the author slowly works through the book on getting you more uplifted, and what to set your eyes on that is ultimately the end goal of where everything for everyone is leading no matter what has happened to you, who you are, how famous you are, or how rich you are, and that is death, but the author doesn't want to bum you out. He wants reinvigorate the reader by saying that while the things that seem to hit us heavy seem to feel like the end of the world they aren't, and there is something much deeper, and something much more substantial to keep us going, and that is being in heaven with Christ.

This is a great book that is written well. I like the honesty of the book, and I am someone who is easily bummed by the subject matter, but this never got me down. I was having a rough week as well, but reading this book was a golden moment because it was easy to relate to especially with where I am at. It's one to keep on your shelf and go back to.

Rating 9.5 of 10.

This book was provided by Leafwood Publishing in exchange for a review.

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