Friday, January 09, 2009

Book Review: Sea of Glory (3/5)

My sweet mother-in-law gave me a novel for Christmas called Sea of Glory, a fictional account of four chaplains who worked together on a transport ship in World War II that was sent to the ocean floor by a German U-boat. The crux of the story is the heroism and selflessness displayed by the chaplains when the boat was going down. All four men gave their life-jackets to other men on board who had left their jackets down below instead of bringing them on deck. This part of the story was incredibly moving to read and made me appreciate even more the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf. We say all the time that "Jesus died for us," but this story is a great reminder that someone freely laying down their life for another is the greatest act of love. I enjoyed reading the background of each of these men and seeing how they came together out of theologically diverse traditions.

All that being said, I would only give this book 3 out of 5 stars in my rating because of some glaring weaknesses. First, the story was just not written that well. The material is naturally captivating, but the authors could have spent more time writing with passion and not just recounting events. Second, the fictional accounts of the events on board the ship make these four chaplains seem completely unreal. Who talks like these guys do in this book? Were they perfect guys? They never argued, had conflict or disagreed with one another? All hard to believe. Finally, the theological differences that these guys held is minimized to the point of absurdity. Of course they could work together and get along, but the authors want us to believe that they never disagreed about how to counsel the soldiers on board. The Judea-Christian tradition has similarities, but the differences are significant. I just wish they had spent more time building tension in the story rather than giving us unrealistic portrayals of the events on the ship.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Sounds interesting...save this one for me to read.
Love, Mom

Elizabeth said...

You need to read the nonfiction book, Same Kind of Different As Me. It has a very moving message and is by an author from Ft. Worth.
Love, Mom