Friday, August 30, 2013

Death By Living: Book Review

From my Library Thing collection

The Book

Death By Living: Life is meant to be spent
N. D. Wilson

I received this book as part of a blog tour promotional for N. D. Wilson's latest book, Death By Living. I was expecting DBL in the package, I was pleasantly surprised by Tilt-A-Whirl (TAW). But if you read my blog regularly, you know this already.

Last week my family went on a week-long cruise that was complete with two (2) days at sea. I took the opportunity to supplement my nightly chapters with several helpings of TAW and DBL while lounging on deck and consuming mountains of food. Hey, it was heavenly!

Technical Merit

I dealt with the problem of N. D. Wilson and the Stream of Consciousness Writing Style in my review of TAW (published a couple of days ago). I stand by my remarks that this intentional maelstrom of description is deliberate and beautiful. He did not just barf up vocabulary words on a page, he sculpted a beautiful piece of literature.

I also give this piece 4 out of 5 stars of technical merit. I did notice that Wilson was able to sculpt this more closely around a topic: live like you know you will die, because that is certain. It is a sort of Christian carpe diem. Seize the day. Redeem the time for the days are evil. I suppose that is what was meant by the subtitle: Life is meant to be spent.

The Review

By the end of the book, I realized that this was more than just a Christian self-help book, it was a memoir. A family memoir. It reads as a tribute to all four of N. D. Wilson's grandparents, who serve as the muses which get Wilson to think of the brevity of life and what types of things should occupy his own remaining moments.

As Wilson strives to grasp what things should occupy his time, he remembers the small things. In fact, he looks to God as an example of remembering to take interest in the small things:
Your world is tiny, yes. But God gets tinier...You have the Creator God's full attention, as much attention as He ever gave Napoleon Or Churchill. Or even Moses. Or billions of others who lived and died unknown. (Pgs. 5, 7)
God takes a special interest in your life. Yours! What you do with the time He has given you is extremely important to Him. As Wilson states, the concept of life as a story is not new, but it is ever true. God has begun a good work in you, and He intends to see it through. In another portion, Wilson insists that:
We cannot see every moment of our own stories, let alone any other mortal story. None of us even have first-hand knowledge of our own early years of existence—what we thing we know is all taken on faith.

But God has been there every second. He has crafted every step and gesture and breath of every mortal you have ever passed, of ever driver on every road that has ever flicked by you at night, of every kicking child in every mall. And He will be there when we end...We are mortals, we should know our role. (Pg. 163, 164)
Life does not last forever. Life is fleeting. Not only that, but the moments we have to create life are even more fleeting. We only shape the present, the past is locked away and the future will never arrive. We only work with the instant reactions we call the present:
We are the present. We are now. We are the razor's edge of history. The future flies at us and from that dark blur we shape the past. (Pg. 164)
N. D. Wilson proves that Solomon was right when he said that it is good to be in the house of mourning. Through the lives of influential people in his life, he found inspiration to write DBL. Through the loss of these men and women of faith, he was urged to reflect on the meaning of life and write this excellent book.

Again, like TAW, I recommend this book with caution. If you are not easily offended by some irreverent humor or afraid to look at the world as it is, then I heartily recommend this book. If you are, I would suggest reading something a bit milder.

Side Note

I have mentioned that I received this book free of charge. I was asked to write this review and post it on August 30. As you can see, I have done so. However, I would have done it anyways because I like to review the books I read. I'm not being payed for these services though I would love to be. Call this a disclaimer if you will, but that is the truth.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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