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Book Review: Shattered

Once again, I'm happy to be reviewing another book I received as part of the the blogger review program at Tyndale House Publishers. This time, it's Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed by Frank Pastore. Unlike other Tyndale titles I've reviewed in the past, this is not a Bible or a Bible commentary. It's more of a memoir. When I got the notification that this book was available, I was unfamiliar with the author and didn't know what the book was about, so I checked the write-up they had about it to see if I was interested.

Once I realized what it was, I knew I wanted this book -- it combines two of my favorite subjects: faith and baseball.

Wait! Don't tune me out if you don't care for baseball, because this is not a baseball book. It's not a book where the author reminisces about his glory days on the field and wonders what might have been. Yes, the thread of baseball runs throughout the book, but it definitely and easily takes second fiddle to the thread of faith.

To get a feel for the book, you need to know a little about the author. Frank Pastore used to be a baseball pitcher for the Reds, back in the late 70s and early 80s. By all accounts, he was a great pitcher. His career, however, was essentially ended in 1984 when he "caught" a hit ball with his pitching elbow, shattering it. He stayed in the game for a few more years, with his last MLB appearance being in 1986. Prior to his injury, Pastore was not a Christian. When he was injured, he was angry at God (a God he didn't believe in). After his injury, he came to a faith in Christ that continues to sustain him today. That's the short version. Pastore covers the longer version in the book.

It's a great read. Pastore doesn't try to sugar-coat his past, but he doesn't revel in it either, as I've noticed to be a trend in "personal witness" stories. He tells enough to lay sufficient groundwork to show how significant the change in his life was after his conversion to Christianity. He describes his conversion frankly -- a process more than an instant "change" -- and describes how he was able to reconcile faith and science/logic. Most impressively to me, he describes several challenges and apparent failures he faced early in his Christian walk -- including being betrayed by other Christians -- and how much that hurt.

This book is highly entertaining. It's not theologically deep, but there is enough real-world, practical theology in there to make you think a bit. If you're a Christian, it will probably remind you of parts of your conversion process. If you're not a Christian, it might give you some things to think about and encourage you to consider converting. It's not a baseball book, but if you're a baseball fan, there are enough baseball stories in there to make you think that it is. If you're not a baseball fan, there aren't so many stories to turn you off. Pastore really strikes a great balance with faith, baseball, and "real life" in this book. I finished it quickly, and wished there were more to read when I was done. I can't think of a higher compliment to give a book. I'm going to be lending it out to several of my friends who I know will enjoy it.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this product.

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