Review of Always Before Me

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Molz_20
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Review of Always Before Me

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Always Before Me" by John Servant.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Always Before Me by John Servant was a tale of three men who ended up in prison for diverse reasons. Father Richard attended the wake of father Anthony who died of lung cancer, and he was the only attendee. He began to reminisce about his colleagues, their friendship, and their journey in prison. While lost in thoughts, John Daly (father Anthony’s nephew), walked in and interrupted him. He came to pay the last respect to his uncle whom he hardly knows and collects his inheritance. After introductions, father Richard began to tell John about his uncle. When father Anthony was a teacher, one of his students accused him of improper sexual advances. Despite the absence of evidence, the school could no longer allow him to teach. He became a prison chaplain.

In prison, the man of God befriended Matt, who was a teacher and psychologist. He faced the same accusations of sexual favors for grades, and he was suspended. This ordeal turned his life upside down; therefore, he resigned and found work at the prison to teach psychology. Were accusations against both these men correct? In contradiction, father Paul was sentenced to twenty years for defying the law of man to endorse the law of God. After five years as a priest, a young man named Blood made a confession that would frantically alter his life. What did Blood confess? Would he ever share the confession?

This was a story that would take the reader through a range of emotions. The author looked into topics such as the power of prayer, hope, forgiveness, betrayal, and patience. The story was based on thoroughly researched Catholic doctrines and immense biblical principles. What I liked most about Always Before Me, was how father Paul used his sermons to address the issues humans encountered daily. I think the author was brilliant in simplifying the scriptures to explain everyday situations. It came as no surprise that John Servant was well versed in themes of Atonement and redemption since this was his third book on the topic. Furthermore, he was a lawyer for over forty years, thus making him qualified to talk about political issues, law, and social justice. That also gave him an advantage of understanding the emotions and behavior of the prisoners during their incarceration.

The characters were well developed, with detailed descriptions of each character brought in. The author mixed new stories seamlessly; the plot had bends and twists that I did not expect. I became fascinated and very amused. This was a short and fast-paced novel that was easy to understand and was loaded with life lessons. The one idea the reader should walk away with was that suffering, mistakes, and/or failures are inevitable. People's everyday choices will determine their destiny. In our darkest moments, we cannot allow ourselves to give up hope. Prayer and waiting patiently upon God give positive results. Reading the book became a time of reflection on my spirituality and faith. The book successfully provided kind of guidelines on how to face challenges victoriously.

I could not find anything negative about the book. However, it has referenced many scriptures, so maybe those who do not believe in God would want to stay away from the book. I think Catholics and Christians would better enjoy the book. Similarly, people of different religions could still learn the profound lessons the book has to offer. In addition, it is suited for young and mature audiences. I rate the book a complete 4 out of 4 stars. There were no errors spotted during my entire reading, therefore the editing was exceptional.

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Always Before Me
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