Monday, January 5, 2015

Review: From the Dead by John Herrick


When Jesse Barlow escaped to Hollywood at age eighteen, he hungered for freedom, fame, and fortune. Eleven years later, his track record of failure results in a drug-induced suicide attempt. Revived at death’s doorstep, Jesse returns to his Ohio hometown to make amends with his preacher father, a former lover, and Jesse’s own secret son. But Jesse’s renewed commitment becomes a baptism by fire when his son’s advanced illness calls for a sacrifice—one that could cost Jesse the very life he regained. A story of mercy, hope, and second chances, From the Dead captures the human spirit with tragedy and joy.


Published August 31st 2010 by Segue Blue


This book wowed me for several reasons. The main reason is that I love John Herrick's treatment of the subject matter. With this book, he breaks the mold on both extremes, and it defies being categorized in a particular genre. It deals with issues of the heart and of faith, but it's not specifically written only for those who would agree with the faith displayed by the character. Anyone of any belief system could enjoy reading about the character's journey and the portrait of a family reconnecting. 

From the Dead speaks of a character coming back to his faith, and all of it seems organic and has a feeling of realness to it, overall. There are a few moments where I feel a situation was too easily solved, but they contributed to the value of the story in a positive way. In the end we see a real-life portrait of a real-life man. Some of the things Jesse does aren't pretty and not things to write home about, but they depict his journey authentically.

The real quality of the book was an extremely important thing for me. As a Christian, I rarely read Christian fiction because it seems to me that most of it has the A + B = C plot formula that so disgusts me because it always seems so artificial. Most of the time, those books don't present something that could be seen in real life, in my opinion, and are primarily evangelistic in tone. Like I said, the book defies being placed in a category. From the Dead didn't do that to the reader. It was refreshing to read a book that dealt with my faith in a way that I am not embarrassed of. It shows real life, refrains from being preachy, and possesses literary merit. Any book that is real enough to contain BOTH profanity AND ALSO clearly depict grace in action is simply bad-ass. That's real life, people!

[Originally reviewed in 2010; reposting since this review was accidentally deleted]

Source: Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

See also: Guest post by John Herrick from 2010

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