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The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  827 ratings  ·  144 reviews
From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Jack Chisholm is “the people’s pastor.” He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, “We have got to do better.” Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into perfo
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 28th 2013 by Zondervan
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I like it when a book sounds worth reading, and when I read it, it does not disappoint. And that it didn't disappoint is an understatement.

For a long time, I have been a firm believer that God can use Christian fiction to speak to people, to move them, and even help change them. Not all Christian fiction is light fluff and romance. There is a lot that is not. Such as this book.

There have been a few times when I read a book and it hit home with me so much that I felt it was written for me. This
Paula  Phillips
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wanting to clear my kindle as that is one of my goals for 2020, I came across an older book from 2013. It is also a Christian fiction that I have in the last few months wanted to get back into reading as I have felt lately called back to reading that particular genre. One of the popular stories in the bible is that of the Prodigal son - the wayward son that goes out on his own but when life falls to pieces and there looks like no way up, he reaches back to his home roots where his father welcome ...more
The Rudie Librarian (Brian)
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although at times it was predictable, this book was a pure joy to read from start to finish. Brennan Manning alone would have led me to pick this up, but it was a phenomenal book.
Rebecca Gernon
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Book seemed geared to high school reader. Was too simplistic for me. Book was 288 pages would have been better at 150 pages. Jack too quickly returns to father to whom he had spoken to in more than 10 years. A nice story, but not very realistic, too predictable. Small town people seemed very small, still calling each other by high school nicknames years after leaving high school.
Deb Todd
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story of a fallen pastor of a mega church is thought provoking. It is a gentle reminder of our human frailties and God's unlimited grace. ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet story actually. And not sappy. I liked it
Janet Sketchley
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
"America's Pastor." That's what they call Jack Chisholm, founder and leader of Seattle's Grace Cathedral. Jack is a high-profile preacher and an organizer of good works. He's also human. When a lapse in judgment leads to sin and disgrace, his image shatters and his life falls apart.

Despite the name of his megachurch, Jack's best-known phrase is "We have got to do better." His focus on humanity's shortcomings and our need to work harder for God's approval comes from his father, a man Jack walked
Peter Holford
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Two things to make clear right from the start: firstly, the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) is pretty much my favourite parable; secondly, I am a great fan of the writings of Brennan Manning. With those things said, I can say that I enjoyed this book as a work of light fiction while having some reservations about the ambitious claim to b 'a powerful contemporary retelling'. It courageously challenges the realities of American-style celebrity church and graceless teaching. Frankly, I found the idea of a m ...more
Jason Kanz
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Brennan Manning died last year. Writer extraordinaire and grace addict. For those who love the message of grace, his books have been a rich source of sustenance. The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story (2013) co-authored by Greg Garrett was the last book of Brennan's before he died.

The authors tell the story of Jack, a megachurch pastor, who has built a church and a huge following on a message of door more, try harder. At the beginning of the book, we discover that he has been caught in a moral failure
Ken Bickley
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First, I'm not sure how much of this book was written by Brennan Manning, and how much by co-writer Greg Garrett. Manning died before the book was completed. That said, I will tell you that this is an absolutely must-read story. It's fiction, loosely based on Jesus' parable of the prodigal son and written to explore what could have happened (in a modern-day setting) after the prodigal was rescued by his father. Manning's hero, Jack Chisholm, is a good ol' boy from a small Texas Hill-Country town ...more
Megan Modes
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, this is a book released by my FAVORITE author after his death. There is no way this book can be anything less than perfect because i am blinded by my love for Brennan. I loved the story and fell in love with the characters. Total tear jerker, left me crying on my couch when i finished it overwhelmed with gratitude that my God is such a loving God who loves me as I am... not as I should be. This book is a beautiful tribute to the grace that Brennan gave his life away to tell us about. The m ...more
Tracy Collier
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This may be the best book I have read this year. It might even be the best book I have read in the last several years. It is absolutely in my top 10!
I found myself deeply moved several times during this story, during both high and low points in the main character's journey. It didn't end the way I thought it would, nor is it wrapped up in a neat little bow. And I have never liked a book such as this before! I can't say much without spoiler alerts, so suffice to say, I will own this book, I will
Robyn Langdon
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story with truth woven throughout. I have always loved Manning's heart and compassion for those who believe they are too far gone for grace, and his lifelong pursuit to preach otherwise. This is fiction that preaches, teaches, and loves. Can't wait to see the Ragamuffin Preacher in heaven. "We are all paupers at the door of grace." ...more
Mary Rachel Fenrick
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Brennan Manning has spoken so much truth to my soul over the years, but I didn’t love this novel. I loved the message of the book, and the storyline was fine (although fairly predictable), but the writing style felt somewhat cheesy and not believable. I much prefer Manning’s nonfiction works over this novel.
Amanda Rae
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Predictable and silly with insincere sentiments and a silly plot.
Meggie Daly
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would have given this a 4.5 if that were possible. I started reading this book because a good Protestant friend was recently talking about a great retreat he had attended years back that was given by Brennan Manning. This was Manning's last book and only novel. But I also read this book because it had been a NY Times best seller and that intrigued me--given our secular culture and the message of the book.

The writing was excellent, what I call silky. I suspect that the writing style was mostly
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Brennan Manning's. I have read his classic "The Ragamuffin Gospel" three times and this is the one book that I give away the most and after the Bible itself, the one book that I think exemplifies grace and mercy the best. In The Prodigal, Brennan keeps his themes of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, but weaves it into a modern day retelling of the Prodigal Son. In this book, Megachurch pastor - Jack (known as "the People's Pastor") falls from grace and lands himself in a scandal. ...more
Katherine Szerdy
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story was for me the best book I have read in years. I am usually not much of a fiction reader—but this book hooked me. This novel was Brennan Manning’s last book before he passed away in 2014. He was the author of the best selling book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book I have frequently recommended for anyone who has any difficulty getting that God loves them. This moving tale, a contemporary retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, will deeply move any ragamuffin w ...more
Andrea Montack
Good Book- The merits of a second chance

I really enjoyed this book, it reminds me of the grace of God , God's willingness to forgive me when I find it hard to forgive myself . How many times have we judged people for making a mistake , focusing on the mistakes they make and not on who they are : How many times have we beat upon ourselves because we made a mistake,one we assume is too big for God to forget.Thank God for his grace . This book reminds me that there is life after failure ,if we reco
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Themes of grace, forgiveness, love, mercy and service weave throughout this novel. It gently balances God's holiness with His grace and teaches a message I personally need to hear more often. In addition to this book's message, I really like the writing - it is engaging and easy to read. In fact, I read it in a single afternoon! I highly recommend The Prodigal to anyone who feels beat up by life, feels hopeless in your calling, failed in a big or small way, or needs a reminder of how much you ar ...more
Carleene  Hibbs Reeder
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story of grace and a father's love. This is a story that doesn't promise that there won't be consequences when we make mistakes, there will be. Some of those things are very difficult to live with and most often change the course of our lives. It is packed full of heartache and regret but also love, friendship and forgiveness. Something most of can relate to in some way or another. I love the small town atmosphere with deep roots. Excellent book! ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It has been a long time since I knocked off a book in one day! The novel is a modern-day retelling of the prodigal son, and puts the theory and theology of Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel” into a real world context from the perspective of the prodigal, in an updated guise. What a hopeful novel; we can do nothing to earn God’s grace...and don’t have to! God runs towards us while we are all still a long ways off.
R.E.J. Burke
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this today. This book grabbed me from the beginning and never let me go. Great characterizations, clear lead character issues at the beginning, large and believable character arc, enchanting supporting cast, fast paced, nuanced humor. This is so good, it invaded my plan for today, and I was compelled to finish it. Very satisfying. My emotions went from laughs to tears to smiles. God bless the author for this work. The core issues are central to today's Christianity. Wow! And amen. ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are willing to read this book only because it is Christian fiction, then that is a mistake. If you don't want to read this book only because it is Christian fiction, then that is also a mistake. This is an excellent story, not as much about a prodigal son as it is about the transformation of the human spirit.

I would read this book again. For that reason I give it four out of five stars.
Susan Matthews
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story

I wish I could give this book 10 Stars. I could not put this book down. It spoke about a famous minister who falls into sin and how the media and people can't get enough of judging him. Then he sees and experiences the LOVE and MERCY of God. We all should read this book and find peace.
Diane Yonchuk
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just a wonderful book! I should have known it would be after reading The Ragamuffin Gospel. It made me cry, but in a good way. Brennan Manning "gets it" where God is concerned. "We are all beggars at the door of God's mercy". No matter what, no matter who, we are beloved by God. It's a good feeling. ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A lot more real, honest and raw than most "Christian" novels, but what else could you expect from Brennan Manning? It wasn't an amazing novel, but it was thoroughly enjoyable, filled with an image of a loving Abba Father God who is full of grace for all ragamuffins. Worth reading, especially if you enjoy Manning's other books! ...more
S. LaRue
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God's Love, Grace and Mercy

What a wonderful read when a bad decision, a mistake, or sin can cause us to run from God and how we try to cover it up with lies. But how God's love and mercy covers us when we surrender and even when we don't. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing! This thought provoking book reminded me of the power of forgiveness towards others and oneself.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read

A story about forgiveness. About finding your way with God's help when you are surrounded by darkness and bleakness. A story about finding friendships and love unexpectedly and how even a little deed goes a long way. I bought this book by mistake, but I end up reading it all through the night.
Katheryn Hyde
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just what we needed to hear

Forgiveness ...
forgiven ... working on it. We’re all there at some point; some more than others, yet no one gets off scott free of the need to forgive and be forgiven. This beautiful retelling of the Prodigal Son is a tender, brutally honest look at how love works for our Heavenly Father as well as our earthly fathers.
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Richard Francis Xavier Manning, known as Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013) was an American author, friar, priest, contemplative and speaker.Born and raised in Depression-era New York City, Manning finished high school, enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean War. After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania ...more

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