Two new children’s books show us what most adults already know: that kids handle adolescence differently, and that growing up is by turns confusing, hilarious, and yes, sometimes scary. But in just the right light, and often only in retrospect, it is nothing short of an adventure.
For some readers, this may be a new and exciting–even revolutionary!–perspective on the historical Jesus. Aslan certainly hopes so: he describes Zealot as the culmination of “two decades of rigorous academic research into the origins of Christianity.” For scholars, however, Aslan’s research is neither novel nor especially rigorous. It is clear that Aslan has indeed been fascinated by the historical Jesus since his teenage years, but he is not an academic specialist in the New Testament or in early Christianity, and he does himself a disservice by portraying himself as one.
“What is important in this volume is not necessarily Akin’s history of his career. Rather the book illustrates the key characteristics of many in the Christian right who make a difference at the ballot box. When there is such fundamental belief in certain tenets, political and societal division is inevitable and gridlock prevails.”
“Eden’s days come back in shards of fractured memories, contextualized conjecture and research, and my mother’s voice as the old reliable washing machine that spins and recycles for years after the events. I cling to these fleeting blissful moments from life on Crescent Avenue in Hillsdale, suburban St. Louis. We were as idyllic an American family as any with a mama and daddy, a son and a daughter and a German shepherd in the fenced backyard. Almost all of the actual pictures are gone. St. Louis County police and court records provide Suburban police reports reveal a patchwork quilt where compression is distortion and repetition alters the fabric.”
Although recommended to readers with an interest in Bacharach or in popular song of his era, Anyone Who Had a Heart is an unsatisfying book. Readers hoping that Burt Bacharach’s autobiography will reveal new depths in the man and his music may find that both come to seem shallower than ever.