Monday, December 13, 2010

The Reluctant Villain

It was an interesting day yesterday. We received over ten inches of snow on Saturday night and woke up Sunday to blizzard like conditions with blowing snow and icy temperatures. I was supposed to go to my mom's for Christmas cookie baking, but I asked Jesse to drive me because I hate driving in weather that bad, and our van got stuck at the end of our road, just ten feet from the stop sign and from the plowed road. It was terrible; Jesse and Doogie were both out pushing, but we weren't going anywhere. Suddenly there was a man in a truck behind us, who just happened to have a shovel. Mia said, "Mommy, you know what they say about meeting angels and not knowing it?" I laughed a bit, and it was wonderful to find out later that the man was the youth pastor from the church we've been attending! A few minutes later my father-in-law and another man showed up, and between all of them, we were out on the county road and moving. Jesse tried to turn around, and for just a moment the van lost reverse, just long enough for us to begin sliding into the ditch. Doogie dove into the waist deep snow to push, and then suddenly we were surrounded by a whole crowd of men again pushing us out, and this time we headed straight for home.

I was disappointed at not going to Mom's to bake cookies, but grateful we were home safe. My RA doesn't handle the cold well, and being out like that it sank right into them, and I spent the next several hours warming up under my electric blanket. That, along with the terrible Packer game, made the day seem pretty grim. But then Jesse brought in some boxes of books my aunt had given me several months ago, and I was just finally looking at now. In the last box there was an old scrapbook and manila envelope. As I begin to go through them, I discovered old family photographs of my grandma's family when she was a little girl. I've never seen any of those pictures before, indeed had no idea they even existed! I spent a couple of lovely hours going through the photos again and again, picking out a few faces I knew, and discovering that my grandma and I looked remarkably alike when we were little girls. Today's picture is of her at about six or seven years old. I can't imagine a better Christmas present than that small pack of photos.

The Reluctant Villain by Stanley J. Borley is a short novella about the transformation God can bring to even a bad man's life. The book is written in third person, but is truly an autobiography. Stan asked me to be kind to him in the review, because he's not a professional writer, but while there is the occasional grammatical issue, the book is written remarkably well, and he uses suspense and dramatic tension very well. The story follows Stan through his life as a young boy in Manitoba, Canada to his life as a major drug dealer and smuggler in Asia. He is brutally honest about his sinning past and his alcoholism, but as he learns to deal with his addiction and about God, he begins to make serious changes in his life, trying to become the man God created him to be. Stan doesn't always succeed, but his story is one of hope and perseverance. His story is inspirational and compelling, and it's a beautiful story of what God can do with a man's life, if the man is just willing.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review!