Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: "Torn" a competent message on a crowded topic

Vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States. Sometimes it also makes for good reading, and sometimes not.

"Torn," written by pastor Jud Wilhite and published by Multnomah Books, is "vanilla." Not because it's bland, but because it's one more book in the heavily crowded topic of how to deal with life's difficulties ... or, as the subtitle of the book describes, "Trusting God When Life Leaves You In Pieces."

Because human need never ends, publishers never stop printing books about how to overcome being "torn" by the struggles of life. The result is a vast array of books on the subject (perhaps more on this subject than any other). That means there are some that are brilliant and profound, others that are competent on the subject, and still others lesser so. "Torn" lands among the competent books on this common subject; it's not profound, as there are other books that deal more deftly and far more brilliantly with the subject, yet it provides competent, basic biblical insights for dealing with life when you are torn better than some other books do.

Adding to the vanilla is Wilhite's use of referring to Job as an example, and using some modern tragic stories for his content. There's nothing wrong with doing either, it's just that most all the writers of the thousands of other books on the same subject do the same thing. Again, Wilhite does it competently, but there's nothing new about the primary content or the approach Wilhite takes to the subject matter. Wilhite even quotes heavily from others as part of his content.

Thus, there's nothing terribly outstanding to point to about "Torn." Wilhite shares some great stories, and blends them competently with biblical insight. The result? Formulaic writing on the topic of dealing with life's struggles. Does he go deeper than some of the best who write on the subject? No. Is his teaching more insightful, more profound, better equipping in nature? No. Is it better than some? Yes.

Therefore, it's competent. And vanilla.

If you haven't read any books on this popular topic, perhaps "Torn" will be a bright blessing to you. If you like reading a lot of books on this same subject, you will likely appreciate it. If you have read some great books on this topic, you will probably appreciate the competency of the common message in "Torn," but find it unremarkable ... "vanilla."

But some people prefer vanilla.


I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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