Monday, March 07, 2011

Defiant Joy

Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. ChestertonDefiant Joy by Kevin Belmonte is a literary biography of G.K. Chesterton examining his life and faith through his writings. Gilbert Keith Chesterton is an oft-quoted and still respected writer seventy-five years after his death. He was a prolific and eclectic writer ranging from essays to literary biographies to criticisms to novels, poetry, and a play. Best known for his paradoxical and eminently quotable writings, he has been a touchstone for Christians for a century. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were affected by his writings as were T.S. Eliot and good friend George Bernard Shaw. As a reader who is familiar only with Chesterton's name, this book made for an excellent introduction to the author and his works. Each chaper focuses on an individual work, and Belmonte quotes directly from the work, as well as reviews of it (contemporary and modern) while offering insight into what inspired the work and how it related to Chesterton's life at the time. It's not necessarily an easy read, but for readers who give it a try, it's well worth the effort. Belmonte gives a good look at Chesterton the man through his writing. Readers looking for a deeper biography may be disappointed, but it was perfect for me, a reader wanting to know more about Chesterton, as well as know which books of his I should seek out. Since finishing the book, I've purchased two of Chesterton's books with a list of three more I need to get, so I would say that Belmonte has fulfilled his purpose in Defiant Joy. Readers meet Chesterton, a man filled with a joyous faith and affected everyone he knew, and will be inspired to get to know him further through his writings.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book for review.