Penny Johnson's Reviews > Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp

Remembering Isaac by Ben Behunin
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Apr 08, 2011

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As a teen librarian, most of my reading concentrates on young adult literature. The "edginess" of most teen books wearies me at times. As a teenager I did not drink, swear, take drugs, or have sex with my boyfriend. (Hey, I still don't do those things!!) So I rarely get to read a book with which I identify.

Thus I was pleased to have a friend loan me this book with obvious Christian themes. It was a breath of fresh air to read about Jake, a potter and new college graduate. Jake becomes the village potter in the small town of Niederbipp PA. He quickly discovers his deceased predecessor, Isaac, was beloved for his wisdom, kindness, and faith. As the townspeople visit the pottery and talk of their relationship with Isaac, Jake finds a new direction and philosophy for his own life.

The book's author is also a potter, with an active studio in Salt Lake City. He lovingly weaves the potter's techniques into the storyline. The book is delightfully designed to resemble Jake's sketchbook, with doodles and notes and splatters adorning the pages.

So why did I give this book just three stars? It was too long -- over 420 pages. I believe this book is self-published. A good editor would have trimmed and tightened the story. Sometimes the account sounded preachy. Surprisingly (considering my faith) I read very little Christian fiction, so I don't know if "preachiness" is par for the course with this genre. Perhaps if the book were shorter I wouldn't have minded the frequent not-so-subtle reminders about the importance of faith, the Bible, and the Golden Rule.

This book has two sequels, which I probably will not read. I loved "spending time" in the village of Niederbipp, and I wish I had known Isaac the joyful potter, but I am ready to move on down the road. Thank you, Mary Jo, for loaning me the book. The break from edgy teen literature was much needed.
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