Sticky Note

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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips by Stephen Baldwin and Mark Tabb

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips

FaithWords (November 5, 2008)


Stephen Baldwin
Mark Tabb


STEPHEN BALDWIN - actor, family man, born-again Christian - makes his home in upstate New York with his wife and two young daughters.

Equally adept at drama and comedy, Baldwin has appeared in over 60 films and been featured on such top-rated television shows as Fear Factor and Celebrity Mole. He has his own production company that is developing projects for television and the big screen. These days, however, his role as director, co-producer and host of Livin' It - a cutting-edge skate video is bringing out his white hot passion for evangelism.

Writer and communicator Mark Tabb calls himself an “internationally unknown author.” Although his books have been published around the world, he is best known for his collaborative works. His 2008 release, “Mistaken Identity”, written with the Van Ryn and Cerak families, hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list for two weeks, and remained on the list for over two months. He and actor Stephen Baldwin teamed up on their 2005 New York Times bestseller, “The Unusual Suspect,” and with their first work of fiction, “The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips,”


Even years of experience haven't prepared Officer Andy Myers for this case---

When Officer Andy Myers met Loraine Phillips, he had no interest in her son. And he certainly never dreamed he'd respond to a call, finding that same boy in a pool of blood. Even more alarming was the father standing watch over his son's body. Myers had never seen a man respond to death-particularly the death of a child-in such a way. When the father is charged with murder and sentenced to death, he chooses not to fight but embrace it as God's will. Myers becomes consumed with curiosity for these strange beliefs. What follows is the story of the bond these two men share as they come to terms with the tragedy and the difficult choices each one must make.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips, go HERE


My thoughts:

This was a very interesting story and I haven't ever read one quite like it. The main character, Andy, spends most of his time trying to escape from his thoughts only to have them catch up to him full force. I could relate to that part (not for the same reasons, of course). Too many times I try to handle things myself and let them consume me instead of letting God.

I have mixed feelings about this book, though. It won't appeal to everyone, but it does have it's audience. It is full of profanity. Full. I kept thinking it would taper off as the book went on, but it didn't. Personally, I was turned off by that considering it's Christian fiction. I can handle some profanity, but it had more than "some." Granted, the profanity used was the more "mild" ones, not the stronger, more highly offensive ones. This is what the publisher said about it:

Normally, it is not the policy of FaithWords to include foul language in our fiction titles. The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips has dialogue which reflects the heart of the main character. His transformation and ultimate conversion to Christ throughout the book is key to the story and the author’s intention was to make that transformation clear. We apologize if this inclusion offends our readers. We are committed to publishing fiction that depicts the power of Christ’s love in even the darkest life and situation. ~Harry Helm, Associate Publisher, FaithWords

So, you can read the first chapter (click the link above) and decide for yourself. But the profanity becomes more frequent after that.

It's told from a third person's perspective, which was a little confusing at times, but also gave an interesting perspective (and side comments). It was also a fairly easy read and wasn't so complex that I had to keep stopping to catch up.

The story itself addressed something that many people struggle with: finding justice for the death of a child. Andy's reaction seemed fairly typical for a non-believer and he couldn't understand how John (the boy's dad) could be so calm. Honestly, I thought John's response was strange too. Christians mourn the death of a child, too, not just accept it calmly.

It also showed how if we're not truly seeking the truth on a matter we can twist our perceptions to see what we want to see and prove what we want to prove, right or wrong.

I thought the ending was very creative. It doesn't end in a typical Christian fiction way, but you can see how Andy finally "got it" and the lengths he went to in order to make things right.

All in all, if the profanity doesn't bother you then I'd recommend it based on the interesting storyline and ending. But if you're turned off by profanity, you'll want to stay away from this one.

1 comment:

  1. Sunny, I am so glad you reviewed this. I have really enjoyed getting everyone's perspective on this one. :) I am not thrown by profanity when I read. At least I haven't been. It is hard to tell until you open it up, I suppose. Thanks for a great review!