Monday, May 20, 2013
Free Man Walking by Andy Nieman
You see, Free Man Walking is a story of salvation. So by the subject matter alone, it's incredibly interesting. The author Andy Nieman writes very descriptive prose, filled with lots of detail that really helps you imagine how his life was like.
Unfortunately, there is too much detail. The book digresses into different topics, which at times skips forward - kind of like mini-spoilers. As proof, I'd point to the length of each paragraph - it's normally a page (on the iPad iBooks app) or more. That is really way too long, but this might be a preference thing. I really think that a lot could be cut out to make it flow smoothly and with the right amount of detail. This is really a problem of excess, to me, this book has too much in it. It reminds me a little of "Run Baby Run" by Nicky Cruz. The only difference is that "Run Baby Run" is very tightly written, which in turn makes it much more absorbing.
Personally, I think this book would be best as an audiobook. It reads like someone standing up and sharing his testimony. A really long testimony, but I suspect that all the people in the room would stay till the end. One major reason (apart from the narrative style) I think this way is because words are put in CAPS for EMPHASIS.
Now, there's nothing wrong with capitalizing words, but it's done way too often. I can imagine it using as a cue to raise your voice at certain parts of your sentence, but in a book, it comes off as annoying.
What I did like about this book would be the poems/song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. If it was up to me, I'd use each poem as a starting point for the autobiography. Think of a short chapter explaining the inspiration for each poem. That would be really interesting.
Since I'm doing a good/bad format, I'll end with my last criticism - theology. There are a bunch of things I disagree with, but the biggest one for me was the position that babies have no sin. According to Romans 5 "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sin", "all have sinned", which would includes babies. This is known as the doctrine of Original Sin. Besides, think of the implication of babies being born without sin - if they have no sin to start with, then it's possible to raise a sinless child, which would negate the message of Jesus coming for the whole world.
All in all, I think this is an okay book. I haven't decided if the good points outweigh the bad, but I think quite a lot depends on your personal preference.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book as part of the VirtualBookworm blog tours in exchange for a free and honest review.