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Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be Human
 
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Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be Human [Kindle Edition]

Josh James Riebock
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we've gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we've been given. So how do we make sense of life's unexpected nature, find a way to embrace the tension, and live with a sense of peace despite pain?

In this stunningly honest, compelling, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues of trust, obedience, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey that form us into the people we are. In a creative way, he shows readers that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

Those grappling with life's inconsistencies and trials will especially find a welcome resonance between their lives and Heroes and Monsters. Riebock both validates their experiences and challenges them to live beyond them in this ever-changing life.

From the Back Cover

Heroes and Monsters is an unforgettable memoir of passion and redemption, a ragged look into a world at once wildly twisted and profoundly beautiful, an exposé of both the hero and the monster within all of us.

In this stunningly honest, thoroughly unconventional, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues that form us into the people we are--issues of family, love, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey. With artful prose and vivid storytelling, he shows that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

If you're grappling with life's inconsistencies and trials,
If you're searching for an encounter with something real,
If you're craving a story that's just a wee bit odd . . .

Heroes and Monsters is a fresh and exhilarating perspective on the uneven nature of life, and the equally uneven people who inhabit it.


"A wonderful story on life's struggles with grief, sacrifice, and redemption."--Fred Burton, author of Chasing Shadows

"Josh's storyline is the great storyline of history: God in pursuit of his beloved. Josh narrates God's grace in the white spaces of his life."--Dave Goetz, author of Death by Suburb

"Heroes and Monsters is a beautiful book--and an ugly one. Beautiful because it's so honest, and ugly for precisely the same reason. Josh tells his life story with lively prose that explores the paradox of human splendor and wretchedness while dangling hints of redemption. As you read, don't be surprised to find your story in his story, and the divine companion who interrupts his life--the same one who has broken into yours. For Josh, the road traveled with God is twisting, bumpy, potholed . . . and well worth the ride."--Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal; author of Generation Ex-Christian


Josh James Riebock is a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches across the country. The author of mY Generation, he lives with his wife, Kristen, in Texas.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5348 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (March 1 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00702M5GI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Heroes and Monsters Jan. 16 2013
By Linda
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I found wasn't it. Even though I found the writing style somewhat rambling and unconventional, the story does have a valid message about soul-searching, redemption and grace. Besides getting to know Josh, the main character very well, I would have also liked to get to know the others, especially his wife. At one point in the story, Josh had a conversation with a cow. Yes, very unrealistic and I wondered about this exchange and its significance to the story. However, it is hilarious and a nice break from pages and pages of text with little dialogue. As much as this is an account of one person's search for peace of mind, I didn't really see it as, `an honest look at the struggle within all of us', Nevertheless, `if you're craving a story that is just a wee bit odd' this book should quench your longing quite nicely.
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Raw & intense... March 21 2012
By Carla
Format:Paperback
First I'll state that this is not the usual type of book I usually read, so I was surprised at how raw & honest the author was with his writing & story about his struggle to find his faith & become who he was destined to be. The book is kind of "jumpy" if you will, and not as fluid as I'm used to, so you sometimes wonder where you're at, but it definitely fits with the type of his book. Another interesting thing s that he writes as though he is in the 3rd person sometimes looking down at the situation, which is different, but I understand why it's done. It's like he's telling you his every thought & letting you into his own private world while he deals with what we all inherently struggle with. Life, family, relationships, friendships, faith, love, etc...

It's an interesting & absorbing read, which in the end makes you realize that we all have our own private struggles & demons to deal with. If you enjoy something a litte more real & honest than the usual, you'll enjoy Heroes and Monsters!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Heroes and Monsters March 15 2012
By JP
Format:Paperback
When I am struggling with my faith, I often turn to spiritual autobiographies as a source of comfort and strength. Comfort knowing that I am not alone in my struggle and strength knowing that there is hope for the future. When I was a teenager, a pastor strongly recommended that I read Augustine's Confessions for its theological depth and, more importantly, for its honest account of the struggles inherit in a life of faith.

We all have a story to tell ' indeed our lives are best understood in terms of narrative. It is the truly bold among us that are willing to share their stories and, in so doing, themselves. Indeed, we are the stories we tell. Writing a spiritual autobiography is not an easy task ' it requires the willingness to be publically vulnerable, the ability to patiently reflect upon and dissect one's life, and the wherewithal to be brutally honest about one's failings and weaknesses. I have a great deal of respect for those who've publically shared their faith stories, whether orally or written. Their courage in sharing and their willingness to lay themselves bare so that others may grow is exemplary.

I share this respect for Josh Riebock and his book Heroes and Monsters.

It is very difficult to write a review of someone's spiritual autobiography ' it is their story, not mine and there is the danger that any criticisms could be mistaken for personal attacks. However, such is the nature of the genre.

Throughout Heroes and Monsters, Riebock creates some great turns of phrase ' 'we all want the possibility of not being alone' (50); 'grief is a kleptomaniac' (146); ''filled with the special kind of hollowness that comes only when we're missing out on the important things of life' (189). In addition, the artwork was a welcome addition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Transparent truth March 13 2012
Format:Paperback
I had not heard of Josh James Riebock or his first book mY Generation but when I read the description of his new book Heroes and Monsters I was intrigued:

"In this stunningly honest, thoroughly unconventional, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues that form us into the people we are--issues of family, love, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey. With artful prose and vivid storytelling, he shows that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter."

Honesty and hope are what I find myself hungry for and Riebock delivers hefty helpings of both as he steps into spaces in his soul that few choose to share.

The transparency in the words one who has learned that life in Christ is not simple kept me turning page after page, laughing, weeping and nodding my head with an "amen" on my lips. This story shows us that life makes more sense to us when we can look back and trace the journey.

"We exchange vows, and in doing so, I break an old one. Sure, I swore I'd never get married. But I guess life is a matter of knowing which vows matter most and which ones you're better off without. Sometimes it's the broken vows that let us know how far we've come."

Riebock has come far indeed and I am grateful indeed that he allows us to come along for the ride.

If you are looking for an easy story, I suggest you leave this book on the shelf. If however, you desire to be challenged and changed as well as entertained don't miss this well written tale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  113 reviews
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. March 1 2012
By T. Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was happy to read an early copy of this book. To put it simply, it changed me. From the opening crash in a cornfield to his contemplations on life, faith, and why we are here--Josh made me laugh and cry and understand more about myself on this journey called living. Told in a style that feels like a trippy memoir, the depth of subjects pondered and wrestled with here is astonishing. Josh's head ponderings on death and grief as he bumps through his relationship and then death of his father, made me hurt and yet find comfort that others know grief as I do. And to see that grief is never simple nor easy. With such vivid descriptions and boyish exhuberance, this is a book to savor. I promise you will see yourself in these pages. I did and I can't wait to read it again.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journey Towards a More Authentic Faith April 5 2012
By Brannen Padgett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Over the years, there are a number of books that seem to deepen the authenticity of my faith...books that make me really wrestle with the struggles and questions we all have in our souls...and this is one of those books! As I journeyed through Heroes and Monsters, I was confronted with questions like, "How authentic is my faith?" and "How honest am I with the struggles I have?" I know the Sunday School or "churchy" answer to most questions about faith, life, and Jesus, but are those answers an accurate portrayal of the condition of my own soul? Josh has a way of presenting the high and low points of his life in such an honest way that you are forced to work through the authenticity of own your faith, struggles you find in your own soul and life, and tensions you find in relationships. You will be gripped by the stories of depravity and redemption found in this book!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to take an honest look at the struggles and tensions we all have in souls. In fact, I've already bought another copy to give to a friend!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Hero/Monster, Re: this surprising treasure April 8 2012
By TDean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Take it from a Hero/Monster. Heroes and Monsters is a definite Must-Read. The radio interview with Josh was all it took to catch and reel me in for this unexpected treasure. I was minding my own business, scanning radio stations that had become a few desperate static-spewers in the hills of Tennessee, and there was an Austin, Texas author talking about his book. He seemed like the age of our Son #1, and he is! The interview was perfect, as there was not too much information to spoil some of the beauty to be discovered in the book. I got my copy as soon as I got back home to Texas, and I couldn't put it down until I finished it.

One of the surprises of the book is the way that I became interchangeable with the characters. I could see my sons in the stories, but Josh writes in such a deep and blended fashion that I was able to find myself throughout the book...not just a Hero/Monster, but as Josh, his friends, his family, Kristen. I fully expected to see HIS generation, THEIR generation. I expected to be able to point fingers, and say, I TOLD YOU. How he so completely bridged the gap, transporting me into HIS world, THEIR world...it tore down my heart in order for it to be rebuilt. I found myself asking, How does he (How do I?) pull himself up out of this? It turned into a marathon of reading to the next stopping place, but I couldn't stop even when I thought I got there.

I admit, I'm not much into reading books. I got by in school, reading the funny book version of every required reading, when I could get away with it. My wife, the real reader, the Educator, the Mother of our 3 sons, confirmed my suspicions as she was reading the book...Yes, the imaginations and writings of young Josh are extraordinary to the point of comparing his book to some of the greatest writings ever...do I dare say that? I had to bite my lip to keep from spoiling it for her, but I just reminded her that a certain Lion named Aslan became a symbol of our Savior in books and in recent movies. Would she would find Heroes and Monsters to be irreverent. I really wanted her to find it as beautiful as I did, even though a little weird, like Austin (naturally...Austin can't be anything but a little weird).

So, get the book and expect the unexpected...you won't be sorry. You'll laugh, you'll tear up a bit (do Monsters cry?) If you're like me, you will NOT want the final chapter to be over so soon! So, as soon as I can wrestle the book away from my lovely bride, I'll start reading it again! Thanks, Josh. Thanks, Kristen. Thanks, Jack.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Real and Impactful April 29 2012
By JRA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is difficult to imagine the potential impact -- immediate and long-term -- of Josh Riebock's latest work, "Heroes and Monsters". Being a serious literary fan, I find it easy to file Riebock's piece alongside the "Wild at Hearts", "Velvet Elvis"s and "Blue Like Jazz"s of the world, but am not satisfied slotting it in a singular, all-encompassing genre. While those seem to be appropriate placeholders or comparisons, "Heroes and Monsters", a memoir of life, is so much more than the descriptors of a single, traditional label.

On one hand, Riebock's writing can smack you across the face with its sharp conviction -- the shot to the gut you've been looking for -- while on the other hand, it possesses the ability to lead you on a very personal journey - a journey whose destination is still very much to be determined.

Riebock introduces a style of writing that is more relevant and applicable than most authors I have come across in the last decade. His voice is one of authenticity and experience - of mighty victory and of overwhelming loss. He is, at one moment, an authority, and at the next, a wandering, curious child. At one point I was reminded of "The Road Less Traveled" and at another, of "Tuesdays with Morrie", all the while being led by a yearning friend who wanted me to see it as my own.

It is one thing to possess a writing style that impresses with bravado and another to possess an effectiveness that relates to the daily grind each of us feel - desire, loss, achievement, heartache, joy and sorrow. In "Heroes and Monsters", Riebock possess both. In "Heroes and Monsters" you will find an expansive treasure map with endless destinations. And you will find that voice you've been seeking, to help make sense of things along the way.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Christian Writer with Literary Merit AND Compelling Content July 18 2012
By Abigail Hostetter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As an English teacher with a graduate degree in the subject, I read a lot. I am also a passionate Christian who enjoys theology, works of literary merit, and rarely finds a book in the Christian realm that combines style with content.

While I've resigned myself to this truth, apart from women like Kathleen Norris, this book knocked my socks off. It is literally the first I can remember reading in years that is funny, raw, vulnerable, and engaging on a stylistic level--yet also offers genuine Christian faith and insight. This world is too broken to cling to pat answers, and Riebock goes the distance by being truly vulnerable without losing biblical truth--or a writing style that I cannot WAIT to see more of. (Apologies for the preposition at the end of that sentence!)

On a smaller scale: his use of "Jack" for God and Christ brought a refreshing and additionally raw frame to the idea of "God with us." Seriously cannot wait for more--first time I've said that of a book in print.
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