I recently had the opportunity to read Life Expressed in 24 Words or Less by Jack Cantwell. This review opportunity was presented to me by the Online Book Club in exchange for my honest review.
This book is not your typical book. It's important that you understand that before you read it. It is presented in short little bursts of poetry -- not quite haikus but sort of like them. If fact the author explains in his preface that these are his version of haikus. "Since this is my version of the concept," Cantwell writes, "I've made up my own ground rule-- express a clear 'word pictures' in twenty-five words or less."
And that's exactly what he has done.
The author is presenting short snippets of his life from a span of almost twenty-five years. It all began when he lived in Japan from 1987-1991 and continues on until present day.
I'll be honest. I thought this would bore me. I thought I would tire of not reading a cohesive story and instead just having the opportunity to read short bursts of insight from a man I have never met.
But I didn't. From his first "Cantwell Haiku" I was drawn in:
Morning Tokyo rush.
Subway trains regurgitate
endless bobbleheaded commuters.
Head in motion create a black sea.
Or this one:
The lonely soldier
finds a church.
He feels a silent voice say
When you get there
I will be there too.
Faith replaces fear.
And some of them were just a bit odd (and actually funny because of that):
fits his baby boy with a perfect set of
Smiling baby causes shock and amusement
at family and other social gatherings.
(He called that one Vaudeville Baby which I thought was quite clever.)
And it isn't just poetry scattered throughout the pages. Later on, Cantwell begins to share some stories from his life. Short miracles. Experiences. Journeys. These are written well and succinctly, and I enjoyed reading these as well.
Here's what I liked: as a person of faith, I enjoyed getting to read another author of faith share the events of his life that brought him closer to God.
Here's what I didn't like so much: I wasn't too keen on the bold-faced words scattered throughout the poetry. I kept trying to find the meaning of the words. But ... alas, maybe that it was the author was after!
Bravo Mr. Cantwell. You wrote something for some of the acquaintances in your life. And someone you have never met thinks you did a great job!