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
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 29, 2010

did not like it
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

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Book of the Shepherd.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.