Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review - Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith is a "feel good" type of book. One that makes you sigh and say, "Ahhhhhhhhhh.... there ARE still good people in this world." One where the author points out the good in man and helps us to realize that hope still exists.

The book is about a Jewish rabbi, a Christian pastor, and a boy-turned-man whose life is greatly impacted by spending time with the two. It is about discovering differences in others and being able to accept those differences with respect.

The author relates the story of how he becomes better acquainted with the rabbi of his youth. The rabbi has asked Mr. Albom if he would perform the rabbi's eulogy when the time comes. Therefore, the author feels obligated to spend time with the rabbi in order to learn more about him and thus be able to render a proper eulogy. In the meantime, Mr. Albom also meets a man who is the founder and pastor of a homeless ministry. The book mostly relates the stories of the two while also describing the journey of faith that the author travels during this time.

Although I understood some of the statements Mr. Albom made about Christianity vs. Judaism and other religions, I couldn't help but feel sorry for this man as he grappled with what Christians actually believe. He seemed to think that we are not so very different in our understanding of God in spite of the fact that we hold many contrasting views. He also gave the impression that all you need in this world is faith and love. I repectfully disagree. Christianity is about faith, yes. But it is especially about faith in Jesus Christ.

One thing I did like about the book is that I came away with a better understanding of the Jewish faith and what it is like to be Jewish among others with different beliefs and customs. One passage in particular made me sad:
(The rabbi relates) 'I remember one time a congregant came to me all upset, because her son, the only Jewish boy in his class, had been cast in the school's Christmas play. And they cast him as Jesus.

'So I went to the teacher. I explained the dilemma. And she said, "But that's why we chose him, Rabbi. Because Jesus was a Jew!"'

(Mr. Albom continues) I remember similar incidents. In elementary school I was left out of the big, colorful Christmas productions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" or "Jingle Bells." Instead, I had to join the school's few other Jewish kids onstage, as we sang the Hanukah song, "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, I Made It Out of Clay." We held hands and moved in a circle, imitating a spinning top. No props. No costumes. At the end of the song, we all fell down. 

I swear I saw some gentile parents hiding their laughter.  

All in all, not a bad book, but not one I would write home about. On a scale of one to five, I would give it a two. 


Carrie said...

Great review! I hadn't heard of this one by Album? Did it just recently come out?

At any rate, enjoyed the story you shared from the book!

Judylynn said...

Yes, Carrie, it is new. It is the #1 New York Times Bestseller for this week. Not worth the distinction, in my opinion.

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

Great review! I have this one sitting on my shelf. Thanks for reminding me it needs to be read.