Book Review: A Questionable Life, by Luke Lively

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Let me start off by saying I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I was completely drawn into the story and found myself relating to Jack Oliver in so many ways which I will get into below.

But first, I want start with the cover.

Overall, I would say it’s one of the most aesthetically beautiful novels I have ever read. And I like pretty books. It’s beautifully crafted–from the cover design to the formatting, you can see the attention to detail, from the start of every chapter to the finishing touches of the pages numbers and footers. The elegant design makes you feel like you are reading something special.

And you are, because the story itself is just as compelling.

The crafted journey of Jack Oliver is a work of art as well. Art is a reflection of life and good art will evoke emotion. And really good art will do it without you even realizing it.

And that is what this book is–a written Socratic masterpiece.

For anyone that values a reflective philosophy on life, this book is a must.

The beginning grabs the reader with a subtle intrigue into a life that could look like many Western American power/success driven stories. This book is refreshingly simplistic in its tone as it grabs you, the reader, into the main character’s reality with an understated force. Jack Oliver is a power-driven, success-minded individual as a reaction to his immensely negative father. You can immediately relate to Jack’s pain inflicted by his selfish, yet hurting dad.

The book is honest.

The simple, yet intricate reality of the main character causes the reader to wrestle along-side Jack’s journey to personal freedom from self-defeating demons, something I’m sure none of us have ever wrestled with, proving the author did a fantastic job at grabbing the reader and pulling them into Jack’s world of competition and inner-conflict.

His journey is common, yet unexpected. His experiences are honest, yet profound. I found myself relating to him in ways I didn’t expect, causing me to ask questions about myself that I thought were already answered.

Somehow, this book and its main character draw you into a state of fortuitous self-reflection. It unwittingly carries the reader into much needed thoughtfulness over the things that matter most in life that can get lost through the daily demands of our life and our inner voices.

There was one chapter that did just that for me. Chapter 26 was one that caught me off guard with its serendipitous wisdom. From the question asked in the beginning of the chapter to the progress made in Jack’s journey, I was compelled to question some of my inner voices that has been driving my current circumstances.

I’m an oddball, but I am going to share a bit of my heart in this.

So, I don’t take life as a string of happenstances. I honestly believe in divine timing and that everything has a reason. I found it ironic that chapter 26 happened to be such a timely message for me during some confusing times. But what got me the most is that the number “26” has somehow caught my attention in different scenarios throughout my life. But I am going to throw a little bit of Hebrew at you to help you understand why.

God’s name isn’t God. It isn’t Lord either. Those are titles, but He has a name The four Hebrew letters that make up God’s name for YAHWEH/Jehova, are a yod-hey-vav-hey, (also known as the tetragrammaton) mostly seen in English or Latin characters as YHVH. However, in Hebrew, each letter/character has a numerical value attached to it. And the sum of the letters that make up God’s name, YHVH, is 26.

So, to me, this is kind of special and this chapter just so happened to prove that.

This is a story that can touch your soul because I honestly believe it was an inspired work of art, having little snip-its of YHVH’s voice through the author himself.

I highly recommend, not only reading “a questionable life,” but allowing your life to be gently, rhetorically questioned through this brilliant novel of life, expectations, reconciliation and discovery of not only yourself, but those around you and the opportunities that await you.

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