Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review: "Saint Francis" by Robert West

The book "Saint Francis" by Robert West is a brief biography of Saint Francis of Assisi.  This compact little volume (so comfy to hold, by the way) reviews his brief life in a matter-of-fact writing style, as well as covering some of the history of the region in which he lived and preached.  Francis was born into a comfortable lifestyle, one in which he reveled through his earlier years.  He did things that made his parent shudder, as well as having the townsfolk look at him aghast (the way that one might look at some of the things teenagers do today).  And then one day, touched by God, he devoted himself to prayer and preaching, extreme poverty, and devotion to Christ.

This book was a little too dry for my taste.  A beautiful story was made a bit wooden, doing the subject a disservice by making him seem more like a nutter than a servant of the Lord).  There was also a bit too much speculation for a biography--there were too many instances of "It is possible that..." or "We can imagine that he may have...."  Towards the end, when Francis' miracles were being discussed, as well as his demise, the language became prettier, and made him seem more accessible.  I honestly struggled to complete this book.  The timeline was a little too jumbled, and I wasn't always sure of when certain events were occurring.  I did enjoy learning a few bits and pieces I was entirely unaware of (i.e. his participation in the Crusades), as well as reviewing the things I knew of (that touching little sermon to a flock of birds).  This would be a great book if I was writing a research paper on Saint Francis, but as a casual book left me a little uninspired.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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