This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read. I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall. I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.
So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.
I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious! I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time. As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.
One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well! She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too. (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)
After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs. I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week. Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.
This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time. An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy. The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.
Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged. Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism. He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face. The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.
This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff. I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.
The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page. This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.
This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.