MINI REVIEW: REDISCOVER THE SAINTS
When the subtitle should have been the title...
I'd received a copy of this book during the Christmas season from the church that I go to. For some reason, it's taken me a long time to actually pick it up, but with All Saints Day coming up soon, I thought this would be a fitting read for this time of year. I'm glad that I finally got around to this, even though it was not what I expected.
HOW I RATED IT
4/5 A somewhat misleading title kind of set me up for some undue disappointment, but I still found this to be a nice, short read well-suited to nightly/daily reflection.
While you would be forgiven for thinking this was a book examining the lives of various saints (with the prologue not doing much to correct that assumption), this is actually not really about that at all. Instead, it is more about asking thought-provoking questions to reflect on. Each chapter is still themed around specific saints, some who are officially canonized and some that are people from Kelly's life. The way that information about the saint ties into the question being asked sometimes has mixed results. Some chapters barely mentioned the saint at all and there are number of examples of Kelly saying that he "met" these saints which often means that he encountered their writing or story, but that is confusing since he also talks about people from his actual life. The chapters themselves can vary a great deal in terms of how coherent they are as well. Sometimes I felt like the chapters were carefully thought out with their punchlines expertly set up, but other times I felt like I was reading a random stream of consciousness that I couldn't always quite follow. All in all, these little details shouldn't have pulled me out of the reading experience as much as they did, but I did ultimately find myself not as mentally or spiritually engaged as I wanted to be because of these issues. At the end of the day, I think the main draw of a Kelly book is to be presented with interesting questions to meditate upon and this book did a fine enough job of delivering that experience. Kelly's humble and down to earth tone is also something I continue to appreciate.
Similar to many of Kelly's other publications, this is a thin, floppy, well-constructed trade-sized paperback. I thought the fonts, the formatting, and the margins all made for a nice reading experience.
While I was initially a little let down that this book wasn't more focused on the lives of various saints, I still appreciated this book for what it was. If you are looking for something to help you begin or end your day on a spiritual note, then this might make for a great read.
(+) A very interesting introductory chapter
(+) Great for daily reflection (I liked to read a chapter each night)
(+) Short chapters make this easy to fit into any schedule
(+) Each chapter ends with a prayer (I may revisit this if only for these)
(-) Title is misleading and sets the wrong expectation going in
(-) Chapter content can sometimes feel a little scatterbrained and unstructured