Summer is not officially over so I believe I am still within my window for posting this.
My summer started off reading a book that inspired me (read last post) it was then followed by picking up a book that I chose purely for entertainment to read while on vacation. I had seen the movie posters for this book and it was listed as a great book - heartfelt, romantic, humorous - I thought I give it a shot. Now my review of this book may not have been quite so critical if I had not just read Do Hard Things, but I had so.....
Spoiler Alert - if you want to read to the book One Day - I will discuss plot - discussion to be read with parental guidance.
I am highly recommending AGAINST the book and then the movie One Day by David Nicholls. This book was the total opposite of the challenge created by Bret and Alex Harris in Do Hard Things. I continued to read One Day with the hope that surely there would be some redeeming qualities, that surely there would be some moral point or growth in character. Much to my disappointment there was not. The main character Dexter is a twenty something (who grows to age 40 by the end of the book) who wants nothing more out of life than that prescribed by the devout Hedonist - excerpt from page nine "He hoped to be successful, to make his parents proud, to sleep with more than one woman at the same time." "He wanted to be in magazines and be famous for his work with no idea what that work might be - he wanted to live life to the extreme without complications, if a picture were taken of him at random it would look "cool" and there should be a lot of fun with no more sadness than necessary." The other character Emma freshly graduated from university on the brink of "adulthood" - " has a ripple of anxiety pass across her shoulders at the thought of it: independent adult life - she didn't feel like an adult."
The entire story is a sad case of the excuses we have been given and are passing on to our children about why they do not have to be responsible - why they do not have to live a life where they are called to be better. The entire plot made me feel as if I had just been vomited on and could not find a towel to wipe it off or clean it up.
There are times I struggle in the day to day to teach my teenager and pre-teen biblical moral values and feel like I am fighting a losing battle. After reading this book I have a better idea of why - society is teaching our children that it is cool and respectable to be a slug - "I think you actually get a kick out of being disappointed and under-achieving, because it's easier. That's okay we are [meant to be a bit rudderless and oarless] at twenty-four. In fact our whole generation is like that - it's because we never fought in a war or watched too much t.v. The only people with oars and rudders are dreary bores and squares." From the books, to the songs, to the t.v shows and movies - every piece of society is driving our children to be an under-achiever - its easier. This book One Day hit me at my core and made me furious - angry at a society that says they care about standards and excellence but then do nothing to teach their children how to accomplish a higher standard. There are pockets of hope in society, Do Hard Things is a cry for that - but it is a true battle. A battle for the mind, body and soul. My generation may have never fought in a physical war but we are fighting a spiritual war daily, minute by minute, for the hearts and minds of our children.
I discuss frequently with my teenager the need to guard what is put in our minds and hearts through what we see and hear - and in that have been challenged to take a closer look at what I put in my heart and mind. Books turn Movie like One Day are a great reminder of the propaganda that is being thrown in our faces. The cover caught my eye as I feel it was a take off from the World War II photo upon the soldiers return. I knew nothing about the story and was somewhat expecting a romantic war reuniting storyline - what I got was something much different. People magazine claimed "One of the most hilarious and emotionally riveting love stories you'll ever encounter." Wow - there was nothing funny about this book - it was incredibly sad. A story about a guy who trashes his life through drugs and sex, a girl who pines for something that never existed, a friendship that is surface and tries to make out as if it is a deep, spiritual bond, lives that are racked and ruined by selfish, immoral choices that have absolutely no consequences other than to create minor setback for the character.
I write this review to say if you haven't read One Day - don't and if you haven't seen the movie don't. I have not seen the movie but can not imagine how any producer could create anything on screen that would have any redemptive qualities for this book. There simply is nothing in it that can be recommended.
I do however recommend that you read my last post on Do Hard Things and challenge yourself, your children and your grandchildren to rise above the mediocre standard that is being set. To tackle the hard things that God has placed in front of you, to be a leader for the life that is morally and biblically sound. In doing this, you will create a story that is worthy to print and a movie worth watching.