Sheila's Reviews > The Secret Life of a Fool: One Man's Raw Journey from Shame to Grace

The Secret Life of a Fool by Andrew Palau
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's review
Apr 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: christian, coming-of-age, cultural, current_issues, memoir, non-fiction, relationships, spiritual
Read in April, 2012

Author Andrew Palau is the son of world-famous evangelist Luis Palau. Andrew grew up hearing and knowing about God, but he grew in the real world of drugs, alcohol and a teenager’s longing for acceptance among his peers. Knowing he was special, he somehow missed learning what it was that made him special and became ordinary.

Opening this book, I somehow expected a tale of radical extraordinary awesomely awful behavior, redeemed by an earthshattering experience of God. But I found neither. Andrew Palau wasn’t the most fallen young man out there. His life wasn’t totally without redeeming features. His sins didn’t break the mold though they may have wounded his parents’ hearts. And his redemption wasn’t one startling moment of brilliant light. Instead, I read of a young man, self-centered as teenagers often are, going off the rails but keeping it all together, making stupid mistakes, messing up his family’s hopes and dreams, and his own, but coping okay. On a trip to Europe he runs out of money, sleeps rough on beaches, and narrowly avoids getting beaten up or arrested. But eventually, on a trip with his family, he meets the girl of his dreams and starts dreaming bigger.

Yes, he has an encounter with God. And no, he doesn’t suddenly change overnight. His encounter leads to plans which fail. His new love leads to the threat of shattered hopes. And then, led by friends, surrounded by God’s beauty, brought low by human failure and miserable guilt, he opens his eyes.

For any parent worried their teens will never learn, this is a wonderful book, full of reasons to keep praying, keep talking and keep sending those emails, sliding those faithful comments into their hearts. For any adult wondering if they’ve wandered too far from the road, this is a roadmap back with the promise that the journey's just a single step away. For anyone backsliding from what they thought was a whole new life, this is a lifeline—we all slide back.

Finally, for anyone who knows about God but doesn’t think they’re sins are hurting anyone, this book reveals the hidden hurts and offers the visible promise.

I enjoyed reading this. It made me think and it gave me more to think about. Plus it’s an interesting well-written tale of a young man’s fascinating life and it's an uplifting testimony.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel from PR by the book in exchange for my honest review and participation in the book release.

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