Book Reviews From 2013

Things We Couldn’t Say (book review)

EMANPBBACK.qxdIt’s not often that a historical memoir could read like a spy thriller, but that’s exactly how Things We Couldn’t Say by Diet Eman reads.

Diet (pronounced “deet”) was a young girl when the Nazis invaded The Netherlands where she lived, and she quickly got caught up the Dutch Underground resistance against their unwelcome invaders. Alongside her fiancee, her family members, and several of her friends, they worked at hiding Jews from the Gestapo. This involved all of the tricks you would thrill at in any modern-day telling of espionage, with read page-turning excitement.

Part of the interesting underlying plot in this story is Diet’s love for her fiancee Hein and both of their families. Diet and Hein were constantly changing their names and residence to keep the Gestapo from catching up with them, yet they still found time to write some amazing love letters back and forth to each other. Their love was a bright light in a very dark time, and makes their involvement in this dangerous business even more impressive.

Not only is this a story about human ingenuity, but also about God’s divine provision as well. Diet records time after time that God miraculously provided for safety and provision and favor in order to keep alive. At the end of the war, every single one of the Jews Diet and Hein helped hide and care for were still alive!

For those reasons alone Things We Couldn’t Say is a fascinating read, but it’s an important read too. In the postscript Diet talks about her reluctance to write this book because of the painful memories it would reawaken. She said, “When the war ended we all said, ‘This can never happen again.’ But now polls show that 22 percent of the U.S. population does not believe there was a Holocaust. The story has to be retold so that history does not repeat itself.”

I can’t recommend this book strongly enough for readers of any age!

Through My Eyes (book review)

Tebowmania has spread beyond the University of Florida, and even beyond the NFL, as Tim Tebow has captured the attention of so many around the world. Like me, you’ve probably heard way too many “talking heads” on TV or radio, or read countless reporters and bloggers, explain what makes Tebow tick. Here’s a better way to find out: Read Tim Tebow’s own words in Through My Eyes.

I’m a Tim Tebow fan, so I realize my opinion of his book might be slightly biased. I love this man’s work ethic, competitive fire, leadership abilities, and Christian testimony. But the question is: where did all of this come from?

In reading Through My Eyes you will learn about his tight-knit family who gave Tim a great foundation upon which to grow. You’ll see the inborn competitive spirit become more and more laser-focused on helping Tim accomplish what he believes is God’s plan for his life. You’ll relive the build up to the big games, the behind the scenes struggles and challenges, and how Tim responded to the wins and the losses.

Instead of letting others tell you what they think makes Tebow tick, find out for yourself as you see this outstanding athlete’s world through his eyes.

By the way, my 12-year-old son and I read this book together, and I found it to be a great conversation-starter for many of the issues he will face in his future. I could envision this book being used in a men’s Bible study or small group discussion, or even in a mentoring role.

An excellent memoir that was very well written.

A Maze Of Grace (book review)

I’m not one for “chick flicks,” and I’m usually not one for “chick books” either. But every once in awhile a movie or a book comes along in these categories that grabs my attention. Trish Ryan’s A Maze Of Grace did just that.

This book is part II of Trish’s memoirs. At first I thought I would be missing out on something by not having read part I, but that wasn’t the case. Right from the opening words where Trish confesses that her husband Steve has just lied to her, I was hooked.

I love the concept of God’s grace. I try to remember grace by using the acrostic: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. In other words, God lavishes us with more than we deserve. Trish’s memoir of her walk through grace is a constant reminder to not settle, to not give up or give in. Instead Trish tells how she came right to the point of just accepting, “This is all there is,” and then daring to hope and trust in God’s grace again. Sometimes we read how God showed His grace to Trish and brought her into something bigger and better. And sometimes we’re left without a resolution, still hanging on in faith to God’s grace.

All in all, this is a delightful memoir. I told my wife that I think there are some emotions and insights that she would probably relate to more than I did, but I would still recommend this book to anyone who is still on the journey. Anyone who has ever come to the point where they thought, “This is it: I’ll just have to settle for this,” will be encouraged by reading this memoir to trust God for one more day.

As Trish says in her closing words —

“Not just for me, but any of us. A maze of grace. Amazing Grace. Amen.”

I am a Faith Words book reviewer.

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