2 out of 4 stars
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Since ancient times, storytelling has been one of the most effective means for human beings to communicate with each other. Through oral and written histories, people have passed on accounts about their families to their succeeding generations. Additionally, people of faith oftentimes use stories to impart spiritual lessons. In My Story Your Story His Story: A Memory Journal, author Larry A. Toller shares a selection of stories from his life, and he encourages readers to record their own stories to pass down for generations.
Through most of this devotional/journaling book, Toller follows a simple pattern. He shares a story from his life, adds a related verse or passage of Scripture, and includes a song or a poem that holds relevance for his given topic. He then provides straightforward writing prompts for his audience to write down their own experiences. The author’s goal is to use his personal story to share aspects of the story of God. Accordingly, Toller urges readers to process their memories through writing to reveal the story of God through their own lives.
Whether or not Toller’s readers are proficient writers, this devotional can give them a comfortable opportunity for meaningful reflection. The author’s down-to-earth style makes his stories relatable, especially for a Christian audience. This book is indeed best suited for people who are either Christian or who would be open to Christian content that has a bent toward evangelization.
However, on a technical note, it does not appear that the author or publisher fully considered how the use of this book would differ depending on whether someone is reading a physical copy or a digital one. The devotional includes pages of blank lines in each chapter, giving readers space to write down their stories. While this would be helpful for journaling in a print book, the pages of blank lines would be useless for many people reading a digital version of the book on a screen. Also, the ebook version of this devotional has not been correctly formatted. The different sections of the ebook essentially run together without page breaks, and random line and paragraph breaks appear throughout the ebook. Many different lines in the songs and poems also run together, so it takes extra time to figure out their meanings. I would not comment on technical formatting issues if they only occurred in an advance reading copy of the ebook, but this devotional was published several years ago, and the poorly formatted ebook is currently the one for sale.
Aside from the formatting issues, the book contains errors and inconsistencies in grammar and punctuation. Missing or incorrect punctuation makes the writing unclear in several places. (Even the title of the book would be clearer if it had commas, unless it is the author’s intention for the words in the title to effectively run together.) The comma splices, run-on sentences, and questions that end with periods instead of question marks in the devotional are somewhat jarring. The author capitalizes some common nouns that should be in lowercase, and he is a bit inconsistent in capitalizing the pronouns for God. Moreover, the author’s flow of ideas and descriptions of events are somewhat vague or otherwise awkward to follow at times.
Overall, this book is a heartfelt work that can motivate many readers to reflect on and record aspects of their lives to deepen their spiritual journeys. Yet, the readability of the work suffers from various technical issues and punctuation errors. Therefore, I give My Story Your Story His Story: A Memory Journal a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. I’d recommend it to readers of Christian devotionals, particularly readers who may be new to journaling. I would not recommend this book to readers who would not be open to overtly Christian content. In any case, the book should be reedited to give it more polish, and the ebook version should be properly formatted for its audience.
My Story Your Story His Story
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