Laryn's Reviews > The Book of the Shepherd: The Story of One Simple Prayer, and How It Changed the World

The Book of the Shepherd by Joann Davis
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Jan 29, 10

Read in January, 2010

I wanted to like this book. Coming on the heels of reading Peter Rollins' book of parables, I was hoping for a lengthier story in the same genre, but they were quite different experiences. The premise was intriguing enough -- an ancient manuscript discovered in a decrepit old house, "bound in vellum...written in an unusual hybrid of Middle English and Dutch" and translated into the tale shared in this book. Unfortunately I found the story to be too predictable and less than subtle. I realize that part of the problem is the genre -- can you blame a morality tale for being didactic? The story wove a variety of biblical images throughout the narrative, some more effectively than others, as well as a fair number of clichés. ("Every narrator makes choices...Some see the wine jug half empty; others see it half full.")

[Spoiler alert:] While I agree with the basic sentiment expressed in the book (essentially "be the change you want to see in the world") I have to admit I was expecting some kind of a twist at the end and despite the fact that I love St. Francis' prayer (my wife and I included it in our marriage ceremony and have it hanging in our house), I felt cheated to find that the big secret was something so well known.

Perhaps I was just expecting too much.

Originally posted at larynandjanel.com.
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