Monday, June 24, 2013

Reading: Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell

Drops Like Stars is the first Rob Bell book I have ever read and surely won't be the last.  While it is my first Rob Bell book, it also gets the prize for being the shortest book I have ever read!  It took me literally two hours to read this book from front cover to back cover.  Did I enjoy it?  For the most part yes.
Drops Like Stars is a small book that ponders the idea that art and creativity bloom out of suffering.  This idea seems pretty obvious to me since most artistry depicts some sort of suffering - whether it be in paintings, novels, films, or television.  Bell has some great ideas.  Going into this book I was a bit skeptical since I have been hearing only trash about Bell from the general public, calling him a heretic.  I didn't believe these claims but found my own concerns with Bell before ever picking up one of his books, the reason being that I watched a video trailer for his newest book and found the trailer to be all over the place, not making sense, and forced.

"Like me, you’ve probably never been owned by someone else as a slave.  And yet we hear a song like 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child' and we connect with it at some primal level of the soul – even if we’ve known our mothers our whole lives.  We’re drawn to it because so much of the time we’re surrounded by buzz and gloss and hype – we slide down the surface of things." (pg.57)
This book wasn't forced though - at least it wasn't forced with its ideas.  It's format is another story.
Bell has a very interesting outlook on how suffering connects to art and how art connects to spirituality.  At first glance this book seems to be all over the place with its ideas.  I often wondered as I was reading, "what the heck does this have to do with anything?" and then was pleasantly surprised a few pages later.  I often connected with what Bell was saying as well.  He essentially explained multiple concepts that people debate about and laid them out in an easy to understand format that was different compared to anything else I have seen on the same subject.  It was pretty cool.

"I assume none of us want to starve or be shot at or lose someone we love, but it’s possible to die a sort of death at the other end of the spectrum, isn’t it?  If we aren’t careful, our success and security and abundance can lead to a certain sort of boredom, a numbing predictability, a paralyzing indifference that comes from being too comfortable.  Death by wallpaper and flooring." (pg. 44)
That being said, I hate Bell's writing style.  Absolutely hate it.  It is very forced.  This book in
particular was filled with large spaces, short sentences, and many one liners to end it all for dramatic effect.  I wasn't buying it.  Another drawback to this book was it's length.  While I think the book was very interesting, I have to ask why this was actually published.  The book is full of tons of blank space and pictures and more blank pages.  Of course this format was different and made for an extremely easy read but it didn't push me whatsoever.  I got through the book so fast that I forgot it by the morning.  Luckily I took notes while I was reading or otherwise I wouldn't know where to start with this review.  I know Bell's easy format appeals to most of his readers but I wish he would put a bit more effort into credibility and less into the book's likeability. 
Overall, the book made some solid connections between art, suffering, and spirituality but it's format was annoying and I believe Bell can do more with his words instead of putting a space between every single sentence!
I will give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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