Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review - Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is one of my favorite authors.  He's young, off the wall/Australian and very interesting to read.  I keep wondering where he gets his insight as much of his most important work was written in his late teens and early twenties.  Maybe I should read his biography......BRB.....Wikipedia didn't have that much to add.  Disappointment.  BTW, Zusak is a master of the one word sentence.  Emulation.

Since I spend a lot of time working with at-risk youth, this book was a prize for me.  It was a realistic chance to get inside the head of one of them and get a better understanding of how the wheels turn in there.  In fact I plan on including it in the library at the Detention Center because I think it would help many of them understand their own motivations and frustrations.

Conclusions:  People need a purpose.  I can relate, I need a purpose.  It was exhilarating to see the change in Ruben and Cameron, the two main characters, brothers, when they moved from hanging around with nothing to do, to having a sense of purpose, albeit a rather shady one.  Their motivation level went through the roof and the rate of personal discovery and maturity did too.

I was stunned to discover that assurance of winning took a second seat to the hunger and insecurity of mere fighting.  To learn that being a fighter with heart captivated the fans far more than being a dominant sure-fire victor.  It also captivated the fighters and in the end raised each, as well as their family to a higher, more courageous, more comfortable place.  It somehow becomes a whole new twist on enjoying the journey as well as - perhaps instead of - the destination.  It's about living life rather than achieving or dominating it.  A big part of the thrill and most of the reward in life lies in, not in spite of its intrinsic uncertainty.  I love that.  Success and satisfaction in life are far greater in an environment of opposition than in one of certainty and security.

I used to read a lot of self-help books but none of them teaches like a truly great novel.  Thanks to Booklogged, I hardly waste any time on less than great books anymore.  It is always such a serendipitous moment to discover priceless gems in quite unlikely places.  This little book was replete with them.  Thank you Markus and Booklogged.

Four stars.

1 comment:

Utah Mom said...

I LOVE "The Book Thief". Having just finished "The Power of One" about boxing and also written by an Australian, I'm curious if there are parallels of thought between the two books. I'll have to add this one to my to-read list.

Also, I agree that great literature can teach us so much about life. Brigham Young didn't love the novel but he did love theater and felt that it is much better for us to learn from watching (reading) others mistakes than from making them ourselves.

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