Friday, March 14, 2008

Book Review: The Bronze Bow

Catherine asked what I think about this book, so I thought I'd share.

For those of you who haven't read it "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare (author of "The Witch of Blackbird Pond") won the Newbery Award in 1962, or thereabouts. It is a work of historical fiction, set in Galilee at the time of Christ. The main character is a sullen and misunderstood young Jewish man who is a member of a group of bandits whose eventual aim is to lead a resistance against the Roman rule that oppresses them. This man, Daniel, is introduced to Christ's teachings and believes that Christ will lead the resistance and deliver the Jews from bondage. He learns that the way in which Christ will deliver them is not what he originally had in mind. He learns to give up the hatred that has fueled him for so long and become content with a personal spiritual deliverance rather than a political one.

The author tries to illustrate what it might have been like to be a follower at Jesus' feet. She describes the miracle of feeding the five thousand, the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead, the healing of the sick and crippled. It puts things in a more personal perspective than what we receive from the account of these events in holy writ.

It is a nice book that teaches a nice moral and has a nice ending. That being said, keep in mind that this is a book for youth. To the young and unsophisticated I believe this book has the ability to teach and entertain. It's got adventure, intrigue, action, romance, and a good moral; in short, everything a fourteen-year-old Christian kid could want.

The story is predictable and a bit contrived. It's not terribly compelling for the seasoned reader, but if you are trying to teach the concept of foreshadowing to a seventh grader, then this book will serve you well. Many details, descriptions, and much of the dialogue seem Western and modern, and certainly don't fit the setting; it is very obviously written in the 20th century by a non-Jew.

I would recommend this book if you want a pleasant read that only takes a few hours. I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a thought-provoking stimulus. I would recommend it to my Beehive daughter, if I had one. I would just hope that she doesn't bear her testimony about it later in conjunction with her testimony regarding the Steed family of fictional church history.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Thank you, Maren! I always like hearing/reading your reviews.