The Struggle Within

Review From User :

Update 8/10/14

I just finished re-reading this book and it was just as good the second time around. As with my first reading of it, I so deeply appreciate Josh Riebock's authenticity and transparency, his willingness to be brutally honest about his struggles in life. The last chapter, in which he describes a vision of what comes after this life, made a huge impression on me the first time around, and it was even more meaningful the second time in light of what's been an extremely trying year filled with brokenness all around me. To be pointed toward a future when "Jack's" kids all live in a new world where we all finally get that he is all that matters, and that love is the point, was very soothing for my tired heart. Yes, this book is indeed like a good friend that will bear revisiting through the years.

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At one point in Heroes and Monsters, author Josh Riebock says, "Flawed people I don't mind; it's the perfect ones who scare me." I could not agree more, and this is a key reason this book resonated so deeply with me. This creatively-spun memoir reminded me of a cross between the writing of Matt Mikalatos and Donald Miller (two of my absolute favorites), whose works have resonated with me for the same reason. This book made me laugh out loud at times and fight back tears at others. Ultimately it left me encouraged to persevere and remain hopeful about what God is doing in & around me in spite of the brokenness I face within & without every day.

On a personal note, I realize some may find Riebock's frequent recounting of his back-and-forth thought processes maddening, but for this INFJ it was like the author (a self-described INFP) was detailing the inner workings of my own brain; and for someone who over-thinks things as much as I do (often against my will, mind you), it's a comfort and a relief every time I discover another over-thinker. It makes me feel just a little less crazy, and for that reason I have a deep appreciation for those portions of this book. :)

There are few things I love more than reading an open & honest retelling of someone's life story. I have unceasing appreciation for those who can be real about the highs & lows of life (yes, even life with "Jack") and who can admit to experiencing times of intense doubt & discouragement even as they strive to hold tight to their hopes & beliefs, and Riebock does this beautifully throughout Heroes and Monsters. This is one of those books that really feels like a good friend, and I know it's one I'll revisit again & again in the months & years to come.


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