Saturday, January 08, 2011

Some thoughts on St. Peter's Brewery > my sixth guest post by Angus Mathie

251210_ Christmas Day #7

Olly and I gave my dad a copy of St Peter's Brewery by my dear friend JD Blundell. Here's what he thought of the book...


I received this book as a Christmas 2010 present from my family and was delighted to receive the gift for, at least, two reasons:

Firstly, I had come to know and admire Jonathan through his friendship with my son and daughter-in-law, as well as the marvels of modern technology.

Secondly, the book was on my wish list and only various competing purchases had kept it out of my library. I enjoy the somethingbeautiful podcast, which allows me to listen to a wide spectrum of opinion and I expected the book to do the same for me.

Of the book itself, I think it is useful at this point to quote the storyline on the cover of the book:
“As a twenty-something living in Austin, Texas, Jimmy Gaines had it made. A great job in the tech industry, a great girlfriend, great friends and a great life. Or so he thought.
When it all came spiralling down, Jimmy quickly realized that the life he had built for himself wasn’t as great as he’d originally believed. 
Jimmy decides to run from his problems and finds sanctuary within the walls of a small pub in central Texas. It’s there that he’s ultimately forced to face the demons of his past and come to grip with true grace and forgiveness. Discover Jimmy’s slow road to fulfilment with the help of a few friends who set out to share life together through the community they’ve built around the local pub.”
I found the book immensely readable with very fluent novelist’s descriptive ability throughout. Scenes, emotions, thoughts and interweaving action are skilfully described. I read St Peter’s Brewery within 3 or 4 sessions, finding it difficult to put down. For this reason it can be read enjoyably on one level as an engrossing novel tracing Jimmy’s spiritual and physical transformation. On that basis it can be read on, for example, an air flight or for enjoyable leisure reading. However, I found it interesting and challenging on a deeper level.

The book draws on real life situations and I could readily identify the experiences of the Salvation Army couple and the trucker, in particular, and found their thoughts and involvement moving. Would I have reacted to Jimmy the way they and others did and be as open with my history? Do I display such “Good Samaritan” tendencies? Would I have Kim’s patience in dealing with someone who appeared so distrustful and cautious? Also, what do I make of a church in a pub and of the main adherents living in community?

I think the main issue I was confronted with in reading the book was to ensure I try desperately hard not to judge a person by appearances, especially as I do not walk in his or her shoes or know his or her story.

Only one thing remaining is to know the rest of Jimmy’s story.

Angus Mathie

St Peter’s Brewery, Jonathan D. Blundell, somethingbeautifulpress, ISBN 978-1442174788.

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