Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent by N.D. Wilson

Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent
N.D. Wilson

N.D. Wilson’s latest non-fiction read leans in to the death by living concept with a quick pace and a modern tilt.  Relying heavily on the “story” of life, Wilson recounts tales from his grandparents and parents and, eventually, his own experiences as well as his children’s.  The mainstay of his book, recognizing that life is fleeting, that each moment creates our past, is represented thoroughly throughout the pages.  Ideas such as: we are all authors of our own story, we are all led but we choose where our feet will travel next are heavily narrated by Wilson’s words. And, philosophies of living each moment to the hilt, loving more, laughing more, more more more, find their homes between the pages as well.

I was quite excited to receive this book, especially after browsing some of the excellent reviews it has earned. I expected a narration similar to Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz – raw and modern. And, that’s what I found. Wilson’s unique writing style is contemporarily choppy and to the point with brilliant flourishes thrown in that catch readers’ imagination and spark images of melty icecream and thick green grass and crowded airplanes. This, I enjoyed; the descriptors – the carefully selected language that created a well written book.

But, Death by Living is lacking. And, it’s lacking where it counts. It’s lacking the substance that those beautifully imaginative words should describe. I read and read and failed to encounter the God part. The moment where the personal narration ends and God’s mighty hand begins. Instead, I found a geared-toward-the-masses read that never really hit the hard stuff. Sure, God is tucked between phrases and living life from His blessings is present, but this contemporary read feels more like a secular “live life to the fullest” and less like a book based in truth.

***Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to Radiant Lit who made it happen. 

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