Hard Rock Mining

Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson

Coming to the final pages of Father Hunger, I find myself exhausted. Having taken pick and shovel into the pages of Wilson’s book, I find myself looking at my still empty hands. Here there I encountered color in the paragraphs but assembling a coherent whole out of a sentence here or a paragraph here was simply beyond my abilities. Mining this book for its treasures takes dedication, time and a notepad.

And it shouldn’t be this way.

Taking on an issue that is critical to the reversal of cultural trends, Douglas Wilson could have done much better. When I finished the book I would have liked to easily identify the next action step that I should take to address the problems discussed. Instead, I’m left scratching my head wondering what I just read and just what prescription will turn the issue around. Jesus seems to be the answer but the application is absent.

The author’s style may lie at the heart of the readability issue. He veers unexpectedly from and academic voice to colloquialism to one-off humorous aside in the span of a few sentence. I didn’t know whether to snicker or go to the notes to verify a fact. This is not to say that there are not strong chapters, there are, but their effectiveness is blunted by those that go nowhere. Perhaps an editor that enforces a single voice could have saved the book.

If the reader takes each chapter on its own merit and reads the scriptures referenced in context they will gain more from Wilson’s work. The question is, will the casual reader be willing to commit to the extra work in order to find the nuggets?

I am grateful to Thomas Nelson who supplied this volume for review.