by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn
To be honest, I told myself that I wasn’t going to read this book. I first saw it this summer and kind of laughed at the title. I just thought it would be too cheesy. Also, if you look at my reading from the last year (reading list) I’ve read quite a few books in this genre. So I just wasn’t going to read it, but then I started it and about 3 days later I was finished.
Part of what was so compelling for me was that I think I am like THE demographic this book was written for. First, I have been a huge fan of Jason Elam since he started his career as kicker for the Denver Broncos when I was 6 and gave me lots of happy moments growing up. All of the areas he describes around Denver are my own stomping grounds. So it is always enjoyable to read about that. I could have been one of the characters in the book: carrying concessions up and down the stands at games, stopping at Chick-Fil-A for Dr. Pepper even more than the great chicken. It was a book that I just identify with! So that made it fun to read. I was also pleasantly surprised with how they handled some of the issues in the book.
This book is explicitly Christian fiction. The authors are both committed followers of Christ, I don’t know for sure but expect they would identify themselves as Evangelical Christians, and that informs their writing. Unfortunately, there have been some Evangelical Christians who have been extremely misguided in their understanding of and approach to Islam. I was afraid this book would fall into that category but I don’t think that it does. The author’s intentionally show the vast difference between the majority of Muslims and those who engage in terrorism under the banner of Islam. They also show some of the reasons why terrorism happens beyond “the Sword verses and Islam is about violence” explanation, there are often political reasons and personal loss that drive many to do what they do.
I was grateful for the way the authors handled this subject. While there are certainly major differences between Christianity and Islam and the authors do not shy away from them and attempt to articulate why it is they believe Christianity is true and Islam is false, they do not resort to the hate-mongering, Islamophopia that some have done.
As far as the plot and character development itself, the book is somewhat predictable. The characters are likable and I just genuinely enjoyed the book. The descriptions of PFL (not to be confused with the NFL *wink wink) life are great and knowing they are coming from a 17 year veteran gives it credibility (even still I wondered if there is really THAT much puking??). The descriptions of military and law enforcement are plausible at least.
If you are looking for Christian fiction for a teenage+ guy this would be a solid choice. It’s got a lot of the things guys love (football, guns, violence) and is plenty of fun. I got this for free a few months ago but there are now 4 books in the series so we’ll see if I am able to keep away from reading the rest of them!
If you need an example of why Jason Elam holds a special place in my heart, besides just always being a genuinely good guy, this is just one of the 436 FG’s he made in his career: