Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review: David and the Old Man

In a nutshell, David and the Old Man is the story of a dysfunctional family that struggles with a conflict between a father who has a very narrow view of what it means to be a man and a son who simply cannot live out those values. The father, most often referred to as "the Old Man", is from an immigrant family who made their way by hard manual labour on a farm. When he moves his family to California, the father continues to farm his relatively small plot, often providing fresh produce for neighbours and others. The Old Man's oldest son, David, just doesn't fit the mold -- he has a more creative, artistic bent that the Old Man just cannot accept. While I'm not a psychologist, it seems to me that this conflict is what drives David to anorexia and bizarre life behaviours that only serve to further divide him from his father.

The book was painful to read. First of all, it suffered from a clear need for an editor. The story was disjointed, the writing was inconsistent. It made for difficult reading. My first thought was that I could not believe that Thomas Nelson and Zondervan would release a book of this poor quality under a subsidiary publishing branch. Then I discovered that WestBow Press is the self-publishing arm of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan and the poor writing made sense — there was no editor.

But, the story itself was painful to read. It did show clearly that an unwillingness to let go of stereotypes can lead to great harm. It was hard to read about a young man who had such low self-esteem that he could not or would not care for himself. It was hard to read about a father who could not accept that his son, who so desparately wanted and needed his father's love and acceptance, was different and pushed him away.

I really can't recommend the book.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a free copy of this book to review as a part of the publisher's BookLook Bloggers programme. I was free to write the review that I thought the book deserved and received no compensation other than continued participation in the review programme.
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