Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review: Courageous by Randy Alcorn

Courageous is the novelization of the upcoming movie by Sherwood Pictures, due to be released on September 30.  Tyndale House was kind enough to send me a review copy through their Blog Network. The movie (and novel) are about four Deputies of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department, Adam Mitchell, Shane Fuller, Nathan Hayes, and David Mitchell. All are cops, all are dads. And all struggle with jobs, families, and faith. Do you know what it's like to do your best to do a hard job, only to discover the hardest job of all waiting for you as you walk through the door to your house, and you fail at it day after day?

In addition to their challenges as fathers, all four men must face the ravages of a society in which fathers are entirely absent: the drugs, gangs, and other crime of Albany, Georgia.

When I found out Randy Alcorn wrote the novel, I got excited. Randy Alcorn is becoming one of my favorite authors. I've read four of his fiction books (five now, with Courageous) and I'm reading his non-fiction book, Heaven, with a friend.

I greatly enjoyed the novel, Courageous. Randy Alcorn did a phenomenal job. As I read the book, the story really did feel like a Sherwood Pictures movie. Randy definitely captured the style I'm sure the Kendrick brothers implant on their movies, but he also was able to seamlessly weave his own personal touch into the book. For some reason, I enjoy continuity among stories. I'm not sure if he's present in the movie, but Kirk Cameron's character from Fireproof, Caleb Holt, appears in the novel. Also is a tie in to one of Randy Alcorn's characters, Ollie Chandler. (I was thrilled to hear Randy is considering a follow up to Deception).

In his promotional material, Randy Alcorn commented that the movie is two hours long, while the book contains about ten hours worth of screen time. He created new characters and new scenes to turn the screenplay into a novel. As I haven't seen the movie (it's not out yet), I don't know which characters were created for the book.

The movie was made by the Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen. Alex plays Adam Mitchell in the movie. Also present in the movie is Ken Bevel, who played Michael Simmons in Fireproof. He plays the character Nathan Hayes in Courageous.

I've read quite a few movie novelizations. I've read interviews with authors who say they're hard to do. The book has to be out before the movie, and is often rushed. At times, the script changes after the novel is completed, and the novel no longer compliments the movie. I can tell Randy Alcorn worked hard to make sure this book is a complement to the movie, while still containing his unique style. I can tell part of this from the book, but the rest is because I follow his blog and read many of his posts about working on this book. He spent four days in Albany, Georgia with the cast and crew, and even spent time with the Sheriff.

Courageous is a fast paced, quick read. I read it over a span of 3 days. It's hard to put down. I found it to be a realistic depiction of Christian men struggling with fatherhood. Sure, the evangelistic material is a little bit like a tract, where it seems a little contrived, but I've had many of the same struggles and conversations with other men in the course of my walk.

If you're interested in buying Courageous, you can do so through my affiliate link.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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