Monday, August 01, 2011

The Ambition

We went camping last week, our annual family vacation with my mom and her family. We got back yesterday, and I swear I need another few days to recover from it! Vacations are supposed to be a time for relaxing, and I did a lot of that, but when we got back home, the exhaustion just hit hard. I can take it easy tonight and tomorrow, and then Wednesday it's back to Mom-life of errands, appointments, and lessons.

Every year we visit the DeYoung Family Zoo, which is my favorite zoo. It's owned by Bud and his wife Carrie, and they try to bring visitors as close to the animals as possible to give them a deep love and appreciation for these beautiful creatures. They take in rescue or retired animals and give them a loving and open environment. One of my favorite parts (and Mia's) is that they allow visitors to feed and hold baby animals. On Friday, Mia held a baby hyena, coatimundi, bonnet macaque, wallaby, and another kind of monkey. Plus she fed a baby hippo! There aren't many zoos that offer that kind of interaction! There's nothing like seeing the wonder and pride on your child's face as they feed a baby wild animal whose name they can't even pronounce!

The Ambition: A NovelThe Ambition by Lee Strobel is the best-selling journalist's first novel. Several stories of high-powered men in Chicago come together in a climactic way. The Bugatti brothers are known for their control of the Chicago mafia and their business as cut-throat loan sharks. Tommy O'Sullivan has coasted through much of his life on his last name until a gambling addiction puts him deep in debt to the Bugattis and he participates in a bribe that will change the city forever. Eric Snow is a respected pastor of a megachurch in Chicago who is thinking about switching careers to politics, but his best friend questions his motives. Garry Strider's life is going pretty well, with a successful career as an investigative journalist and live-in girlfriend, Gina. But when Gina gets some religion, she moves out and starts pushing him to consider finding faith himself so they can be married. Instead Garry starts investigating the pastor at Gina's church, Eric Snow. Strobel takes these disconnected stories and weaves them with suspense until they come together with a crash. Where Strobel really shines is in his portrayal of Snow and his church. The church tries so hard to fit in with pop culture, that they try to play it down when miracles begin occurring there. They refuse to call them miracles or anything supernatural in order to keep from being attacked by scientists and atheists. Strobel really doesn't have time to develop the characters too deeply but the story is entertaining and thought-provoking. Strobel wrote the premier apologetic work of the late twentieth century in The Case for Christ. This doesn't live up to that level of writing, but it's a good read that will keep readers turning the pages. I hope that Strobel gives fiction another shot soon.

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