Memoir

Dandelion Wine

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I’m ALIVE. Thinking about it, noticing it, is new. You do things and don’t watch. Then all of a sudden you look and see what you’re doing and it’s the first time, really.”*

Douglas Spaulding, a 12-year-old boy living in Green Town, Illinois, is glad to be alive. It’s summer, 1928, after all, and there are forests to explore, ice creams to eat, and all sorts of adventures to be had. There’s a human time machine, a witch trapped in wax, a junkman who can save lives, two soulmates born in the wrong time, a nighttime murderer, and a man determined to create happiness with a machine. There’s a lot to accomplish in a summer in Green Town, and Douglas Spaulding is planning to live life to the fullest.

Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer, and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”*

I would highly recommend Dandelion Wine written by Ray Bradbury and published by Doubleday in 1957 for ages 15+. It is a beautiful, half-memoir half-fantasy novel with haunting prose, real themes, and beautiful, life-like characters. There are a few more mature worldview themes to watch out for, but otherwise this is a wholesome read. 5 out of 5 stars.

No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now.”*

*all excerpts taken from Dandelion Wine, written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1957 by Doubleday.

Evidence Not Seen

Featuring answered prayer, bombs, jungle prisons, midnight intrigues, and bananas; Evidence Not Seen tells the first-hand account of missionary Darlene Deibler Rose, the first American woman to enter the Baliem Valley of New Guinea. She trekked the jungles of New Guinea with her husband, was captured by the Japanese during WWII, incarcerated in a horrible prison camp, and forced to sign a false confession while facing execution at the hand of her merciless guards. This book tells of unshakable faith and wonderous miracles that will inspire the reader. Written by Mrs. Rose herself and published in 1988 by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; this book falls under the autobiography, WWII, and Christian biography genres.
I would highly recommend Evidence Not Seen for ages 15+. There is some violence and minor mature themes that might be unsuited for younger readers. All in all, an inspiring read with Godly themes and historical benefits. 4 out of 5 stars.

God’s Smuggler

God’s Smugger is an amazing autobiography by Brother Andrew telling of his daring exploits spreading the Gospel behind the Iron Curtain. It was published 1967 by The Penguin Group and would fall under the Christian Biography genre.
Born in the 1920s; Andrew grew up in Witte, Holland with his family. He joined the army in 1946; then was discharged only a few years later because of a foot wound. After spending some time working in a factory; he decided to become an evangelist. He trained for some time in England; then went on a few mission trips into such places as Poland and Czechoslovakia. After seeing the spiritual conditions there, Andrew determined that, police, rule, and customs or no, he would spread the gospel and deliver Bibles to all the spiritually starved people living behind the Iron Curtain.
Thus began the adventure of a lifetime.
I would highly recommend this book for all people 12+. There is some violence and intrigue as a result of the brutality of some of the police behind Iron Curtain; as well as some minor thematic elements. An inspiring story of God’s provision and power. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

“Of all fears, those are best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy the sweetest is that which is mixed with mourning over Christ.”*

 

John Bunyan was a Christian author and preacher in the 1600s. Arrested for his faith in 1660, he spent a total of 12 years in jail. It was during his second imprisonment that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress; an incredible allegory that is the second bestselling book in world history. During his first imprisonment, however; he wrote another book that is not as well-known as Pilgrim’s Progress. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners tells of Bunyan’s great spiritual struggle, his salvation, and his call to ministry. Published in 1666 by George Larkin, this astounding book is a Christian spiritual autobiography.
This book is a powerful testimony of faith and deliverance. It is written in first person and provides deep insight into the inner workings of man’s soul. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners is at a medium reading difficulty with profound material.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 16+! The theology hard to process at times, but it has excellent prose. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

*Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners written by John Bunyan, published 1666.

A Prisoner and Yet…

Arrested by Nazi soldiers, abused and imprisoned, then later forced to work in the horrible concentration camps of Vught and Ravensbruck, Corrie ten Boom had every right to feel anger and bitterness against her captors and God. Seeing the suffering of all those around her, the terrible tortures of men, women, and children-as well sharing in them herself-may have hardened her heart and caused her to reject the grace and mercies of her Almighty Creator. However, that was not the case of this brave Dutch woman. Read her memoir, A Prisoner and Yet…, published by the Christian Literature Crusade in 1954, to get a firsthand account of life in Nazi work camps in World War Two; as well as Corrie’s testimony of the goodness of God-even as a prisoner.
This book is incredibly powerful and moving. It is written in first person, and makes you feel as if you are really there-there with Corrie as she helps the Jews hide from the German Nazis, there with her as she stands strong for her faith in the flea and lice infested prison camps, and there with her as she experiences the sorrow of losing both her father and sister to the atrocities of life in prison. The descriptions in this book are excellent, and it is at about a medium reading level.
I would highly recommend this book for ages 15+. The horrors faced by Corrie are quite graphic; and there are some mature themes that are mentioned. It is a fascinating read with profound themes and an overall stirring story. 4 out of 5 stars.