Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at the Struggle within All of Us
A creative, authentic book to inspire your soul
When I picked up "Heroes and Monsters" randomly off the bookstore "new non-fiction" table, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was just drawn to the beautiful illustrations on the cover. I flipped through it, and I came across a paragraph where the author was describing the depth (and slight absurdity) of his love for his dog. The humor, insight, and creativity of his writing immediately drew me in, and I was hooked. Besides, I was a bit relieved to find someone else contemplating the larger meaning of love as revealed by the expression of affection for one's pet -- I didn't think anyone else did that but me!
When I started reading this book, I couldn't stop! Every story Josh told about his life had me thinking "Wow -- that is EXACTLY how I feel!" Josh's gift for storytelling and writing allows him to put thoughts and feelings into words much better than I could ever articulate. There is some relief in that, actually -- to find someone who has experienced intense pain, who has struggled with self-hate and self-doubt, who has questioned his faith, who has waded into the morass of despair...and yet is not afraid to look in these dark, scary places of the soul. In fact, here's a person who has the ability to turn all that pain and darkness into something beautiful and redeeming, using nothing more than courage and words. There is redemption in every chapter of Josh's life, and in every chapter of this book.
I didn't realize this was a "God" book until I was well into it. In fact, I don't think I would have picked up this book if it had been hanging out in the "Christian" section, because I'm not a 'churchy' person. But that's the beauty of Josh's perspective on how God works in our lives: He shows up in the most unexpected places, not looking like anything you'd ever imagined. (NOTE: this book thankfully requires you to use your imagination about God!!)
Even though Josh does not use the words "God" or "Jesus" anywhere in the pages, "Heroes and Monsters" is ultimately a story of how Divine Love is with us in every moment -- in pain and joy, in heartache and celebration, in loneliness and friendship. Josh doesn't tell you directly about God. He shows you: Josh is honest, detailed, and open as he shares his own story, and in this way, he lets you discover God in key moments of his life: in a car wreck, in a hospital room, in the woods, in a pool, on a stage, at a computer. And you can feel it. Seriously, there were times I got goose-bumps. I laughed. I cried. God's right there with you in these pages. Through the words. Through the stories. Through Josh.
"Heroes and Monsters" deeply touched me, giving me the courage to explore the painful places in my own soul. And after reading it, I'm reminded that I'm not alone in that journey.
July 30, 2012
not what I expected
Heroes and Monsters Ã¢ÂÂ Josh James Riebock
An Honest Look at the Struggle within all of us
Heroes and Monsters is an unforgettable memoir of passion and redemption, a ragged look into a world at once wildly twisted and profoundly beautiful, an exposÃÂ© of both the hero and the monster within all of us.
In this stunningly honest, thoroughly unconventional, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues that form us into the people we are--issues of family, love, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey. With artful prose and vivid storytelling, he shows that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.
IÃ¢ÂÂm not exactly sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I found wasnÃ¢ÂÂt it. Even though I found the writing style somewhat rambling and unconventional, the story does have a valid message about soul-searching, redemption and grace. Besides getting to know Josh, the main character very well, I would have also liked to get to know the others, especially his wife. At one point in the story, Josh had a conversation with a cow. Yes, very unrealistic and I wondered about this exchange and its significance to the story. However, it is hilarious and a nice break from pages and pages of text with little dialogue. As much as this is an account of one personÃ¢ÂÂs search for peace of mind, I didnÃ¢ÂÂt really see it as, Ã¢ÂÂan honest look at the struggle within all of usÃ¢ÂÂ, Nevertheless, Ã¢ÂÂif youÃ¢ÂÂre craving a story that is just a wee bit oddÃ¢ÂÂ this book should quench your longing quite nicely.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
March 13, 2012