Some thoughts on a book I want to read

A few years ago, I heard about The Healing Power of Stories by Daniel Taylor.  I’ll write some thoughts on it, but here’s a good summary.  Learning about the four types of stories has given me a framework to evaluate what I read and I’ve found it valuable, though I’ve never read the book.  Why the heck am I writing a review then for a book I’ve never read?  I guess it’s more like a few thoughts on a concept than a book review.  Humor me.

The idea is that all stories fit into one of these categories: whole, healing, broken and bent.  Without restating the very good summary I linked to, I’ll say that I’ve found this model to be incredibly helpful when I encounter a new story, or contemplate familiar ones.  This has also helped me when I think or write about the stories of my own life.  That’s part of the human experience, to make sense of the story of our own lives.  When was I broken and needed healing?  When did I confuse evil and good?  When did I feel whole?

It has surprised me how often I’ve found uses for this model.  I had an epiphany one day that some television shows I’ve enjoyed in the past were bent stories, which made it easier to give them up.  Stories and periods of time from history can be whole, bent, broken or healing.  I learned about the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s with my daughter and that is a prime example of bent behavior and actions taken by the government.  I find myself holding up the art, history, music, scientific theories and media I consume to these lenses to see what I learn.

One of the best parts of learning this concept was sharing it with my children and having this new tool to talk about books.  When my girls and I read Lord of the Flies, I asked them what kind of book it was.  One said broken and another said bent and then we discussed why they thought what they did.  It was a jumping off point to a great discussion.

This is my primary motivation to writing this post, now that I’m thinking of it.  I want a jumping off point for discussion with my readers, friends, and family.  Making sense of the stories we read isn’t always easy, but if we have a model to use that aids in that process, that’s exciting.

Tell me what you think.


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