Monday, August 5, 2013

The Gospel According to Les Mis

When I saw this book (The Gospel According to Les Miserables by Selena Sams) come up on the website for reviews, I immediately thought of my friends, the Jacobs . . . who are serious Le Mis fans, if not downright fanatics.  And I was quite interested in the book, but I knew with the move happening, I wouldn't have time to get it read and reviewed in the required timeframe.  So I offered it to my friends, which they graciously accepted.  And here is Kim's review!

Written from a conservative, evangelical Christian perspective, the 30 devotional readings in The Gospel According to Les Miserables will challenge readers to learn biblical lessons from favorite characters like Valjean, Javert, Marius, Fantine, and many others.
This simple devotional book contains thirty two-page lessons pertaining to the Christian life as compared to characters in Les Miserables. Each reading begins with an applicable Scripture verse to set the tone of the lesson. The author's purpose is stated in the title of the book, which is to inspire the Christian's faith in his/her walk through life by connecting that faith to themes in the book.
The author knows the story very well, and I enjoyed her synopsis of a particular part of the book and a little French history which began each reading. The Bible verse which began each lesson was carried well throughout the two-page reading. However, the lessons were too repetitive, with the same character and concept stated in too many lessons. Finally at Reading 9, the lessons became more varied and interesting, but by then I had given up the book for my daily devotions as I disliked the repetitiveness. 
I then read the entire book in one sitting and was left feeling uninspired and unchallenged. The readings as a whole were shallow; I need more substance and faith challenges. Coming from a Lutheran background, I disagreed with the emphasis on what the believer "must do", "should do", and "need to do" stressed in each reading. I was left feeling guilty because I can't do all the author pointed out; I'm a miserable sinner. Where is the Grace of God? God's grace was finally mentioned in the last sentence of the book. And hardly any mention of His Holy Spirit, who works in me through Christ to be able to do all these works.  
The whole book could have been written as an article or paper exploring the Christian concepts in Les Miserables. Written as a 30 day devotional seemed to be difficult to find material to fill that space. Although the book was grammatically well-written, there were several punctuation errors, paragraph mistakes, and even the back cover summary contains a couple mistakes that distracted me, like "Javier" instead of "Javert".
I would give this book 2 out of 5 stars.
So, there you have it!  If you're interested in taking a look for yourself, you can find the book at this link.  Thanks, Kim!
Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

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