The first thing I’d like to comment on for this book is the wonderful cover art; I think its such a calming and beautiful photo and it fits so well with the theme and the overall concept of the story. I think you can tell from the title that this piece is somewhat religious—I consider it a great work of Christian fiction with strong ties to family, life journeys, and relationships. If you’re not someone who truly enjoys heartfelt contemporary fiction with spiritual influence, then I don’t think you will enjoy this book.
Living Waters centers on a man who serves time in the US military, his name is AJ McClellan and he’s your every day guy until tragedy strikes. Like most people, AJ felt deeply moved by his own life struggles, but he felt overwhelmed when the horrible attack on 9/11 happened in New York City. What occurred that day would change AJ’s life forever; from then, our protagonist makes a move and decides to join the military. As inspiring as this sounds, it slowly begins to chip away at AJ. This young soldier faces incredible struggles during his tours in Iraq; he is tested, not just physically or even mentally, but spiritually.
As heartbreaking and shocking as some parts of this book are, it’s the spiritual aspect that hits it home for me. Its very hard to find God in the midst of a struggle, but how do you do it when you’re facing death? When everyone around you is in constant danger, how do you pray for strength and peace on the battlefield?
AJ’s journey takes another turn when he returns home and faces yet another devastating blow but this time the tides begin to shift in his favor as he sets out on a journey that will take him out of that darkness and into a greater, more joyous light.
I may be bias in reviewing this book as a Christian reader, but I’m also bias because I have a father who served four tours in the US Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba. I remember the struggles my father went through, emotionally and spiritually—especially around 9/11; I actually live just a few hours away from NYC so that terrorist attack was a shocking experience for me. Much of this book speaks to me on a deeper level than most readers will be able to identify with, but I think the message is strong enough to stand out to anyone who will give this book a chance.
Fair warning; there are some graphic scenes, but it stays true to the nature and the integrity of the book, given the circumstances. I don’t think anything in this reading was overdone or unnecessary and I found the writing to be heartfelt and well-developed. Again, I’ll admit to my own biases, but I don’t think there will be many readers who can disagree with all that I’ve said here.
I recommend this book to young adult and adult readers who enjoy contemporary fiction. Christian readers will certainly appreciate this journey, but I think anyone who likes self-discovery and military stories will find this enjoyable as well.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*