Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Book Review

Image from my Library Thing Collection

The Book

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-eyed wonder in God's spoken world
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 (henceforth referred to as 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 know N. D. Wilson refutes the idea that he writes with a stream of consciousness style. I don't know if that's because people use it in a derogatory manner—I certainly do not use it that way. When I refer to stream of consciousness as a style I truly mean that, it is a style, it is intentional. It is supposed to make you think twice (2x) about what you just read, just to make sure you made the connections the way the author has. I find it beautiful and powerful and, as a result, effective. I do not mean to say that N. D. Wilson writes haphazardly or recklessly, I have always maintained that this is a beautiful style.

That being said, I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for technical merit. It was very beautifully written and flowed nicely. While the book was loosely based on the marvel of God's creation, it felt more like a collection of essays than a full work that dealt with one topic. This is not a negative critique, it is an observation of the organization and layout of the book. N. D. Wilson poetically describes the strangeness of the universe we find ourselves in and creates a strong case for design based on these observations.

The Review

N. D. Wilson in TAW challenges us to continue listening to the Word which set the galaxies into motion. He argues that the Word that spoke continues to speak. Yes, He created the worlds with the power of his Word, but he continues to intervene in his creation. Wilson casts Creator God as a master storyteller who has shaped everyone's life-story and wants to make it incredible. He says:
Step outside your fron door and look at today's stage. Speak. God will reply. He will speak to you. He gave you senses. Use them... He will give you a scene, a setting for the day... But do not expect Him to speak in English. And do not expect Him to stay on whatever topic you might choose. His attention is everywhere and no story should be easy, as every reader knows. (Pg. 31)
When we're honest, we acknowledge that we ask God to dwell on the things that are important to us in the immediacy of life. God tends to look at the big picture and deliver to us what we need. That is part of the Tilt-A-Whirl concept that Wilson uses as his model. We think things should be one way, God knows how things are and will give us real life. The world is wild and God's plans are bigger than our own. Wilson puts it this way:
The world is rated R and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. (Pg. 157)
This is the age-old concept of in the world, but not of it. We should be aware of the way the world works. Doubtless, Wilson had C. S. Lewis' Aslan in mind when writing these pages. Aslan, the lion who is good but not safe. Aslan, a picture of the God who created this Tilt-A-Whirl, whacky universe (N. D. Wilson gets into specifics on just how crazy this universe was designed) is also insanely interested in directing your life's story.

I certainly would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys having their brains stretched a bit. I also recommend it to people who like their prose with a side of poetry, as N. D. Wilson certainly provides that with pleasure. If neither of these appeal to you (not to mention the stream of consciousness style), look elsewhere.

Side Note

I have mentioned that I received this book free of charge. I was not asked to write this review but I did it anyways because I like to review books. 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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