Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Literary Thoughts: John Bunyan

Kevin Belmonte's biography of John Bunyan, part of Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounter series, is a well researched and tender look at this unassuming tinker/preacher/author. The book opens with a glimpse into Bunyan's childhood and concludes with, fittingly, his successful penning of Pilgrim's Progress and subsequent Christian allegories. Belmonte suggests that the double tragedies, the death of Bunyan's sister and beloved Mother, lead to his search for meaning in life and death. Coupled with a fortunate marriage which lead to his religious conversion, the Tinker Bunyan transforms to the Preacher Bunyan.

From Belmonte's biography I learned more about Bunyan's psyche and how he came to write his story. Little did I know that he wrote it while serving the first of two jail sentences. Just as the great disciple Paul, Bunyon took his imprisonment as a time to write a convincing Christian treatise. Using his own conversion story, Bunyan's allegory suggests that all converts struggle to overcome the world. Set against the backdrop of regicide, civil unrest, and legal uncertainity, Bunyan's life story is an inspiration in these uncertain times.

The book is a compact 166 pages, including comprehensive endnotes, bibliographic sources, as well as a timeline of Bunyan's life. The chapters are relatively short, usually four to five pages, making it a wonderful book to pick up and put down for quick bursts of reading.

I give John Bunyan five out of five bees for being informative, easy to read, and inspiring.

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should write this great "5-Bee" review now, Matty. There is a .50 copy of Pilgrims Progress at the thrift store that I keep eyeing. You've given me the nudge I needed to buy it - as well as find a copy of the John Bunyan biography. Loved your review!!!

    Are you enjoying your spring break?


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