Billy Joel by Fred Schruers (A Book Review)

JoelHow can you not like the music of Billy Joel? From the release of his first album, Cold Spring Harbor, to his Madison Square residency (where he plays one show a month going on indefinitely), Billy Joel has proven himself to be one of the greatest American musicians and songwriters of all time. His songs about real people and real situations have connected with listeners worldwide. Joel has a gift for capturing where people are through his musical stories that are laced with feelings and melodies that have become landmarks in the hearts of many. My personal favorite Joel song is Scenes From an Italian Restaurant and I am confident many Joel fans share that favorite with me.  Billy Joel is a musical icon.

But what about behind the music? What about the man?

Billy Joel, the new biography by Fred Schruers, digs into the mystery of the singer-songwriters long career, revealing all of the success, failure, heartbreak, and triumph that goes with building such a musical history. Schruers devoted six years to research and had countless interviews with Joel and those who have been around him to capture the truth of the man behind the music that people love. As is often the case when a life is researched, thing are not as rosy as they seem. Schruers and his unveiling of Billy Joel is no exception. Joel’s life is full of betrayal, broken relationships and marriages, and career mishaps and confusion.  Schruers offers the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Told through many direct quotes from those involved in the various stages of Joel’s life, Schruers lets the reader hear the various points of view straight from the horse’s mouth. I found this approach to be enlightening most of the time, but at other times it became drudgery and overdone because it felt like I was reading a book of quotes relating to Billy Joel compiled by topic. Several times in my reading of this book, I also became confused because of repetitive information that messed with the chronology, causing me to look back to previous pages to get the timeline adjusted in my mind so I could continue.

Apart from the aforementioned problems I had with the book, I enjoyed the book because I enjoy the music of Billy Joel.  My desire to know more about why some of my favorite songs were written was the force that carried me through the book and it delivered on that quest. Though it is no surprise that life is messy, even for a celebrity, it is encouraging to see someone overcome and press through almost impossible times to bring a body of lasting music to the people. For Billy Joel, it has always been and will always be about the music.  Fans of Billy Joel can find the proof in this biography thanks to the thorough research of Fred Schruers.

(I received this book from Bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for an honest review)

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It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst (A Book Review)

Little Seed feels happy and safe in the seed packet on the shelf in the Farmer’s dusty shed. His greatest fear is having to leave his packet, a reality that he knows will happen one day. Little Fox was comfy in his den under the trees in the woods. He is afraid of everything. One night a heavy rainstorm forces Little Fox out of his den to look for dry shelter, which he finds in the shed where Little Seed lives. The two become friends and are enjoying their days together until the Farmer takes Little Seed and plants him nearby, where he grows into a strong tree.

So goes the story of Little Seed and Little Fox in It Will Be Okay: Trusting God through fear and change, the new book from Lysa TerKeurst. But this is not the whole storOkayy. The real story lies in the character that remains faceless throughout the story but whose hands guide all that happens: The Farmer. Throughout the story is the refrain: The Farmer was good, and the farmer was kind, and the Farmer was always watching over them. Even when they didn’t know it.

Lysa TerKeurst has provided us with a book that is so needed for children these days. In a world of uncertainty, constant change and chaos, a message children (and adults as well)need to hold tight to is the truth that God is good, He is kind, and He is always watching over those in His care. Even when we don’t know it.  I am almost fifty and I have to remind myself of this truth often. Fear is rampant but God is bigger than my fear and is always there. I appreciated the way TerKeurst did not portray God as being good only by giving Little Seed and Little Fox exactly what they wanted. He was good because he was present and always watching over them.  In a self-focused world, it is important that we all understand that God is not a genie that just gives us what we want, but is a God that has great plans for us to be all that we are made to be which only comes from placing our desires, dreams, and hope in his hands, fully trusting in his goodness and love for us.

It Will Be Okay by Lisa TerKeurst, with the wonderful illustrations by Natalia Moore, is a needed addition to your collection of children’s books. I am confident your children will enjoy it.

I received this book from Booklookbloggers.com in exchange for an honest review.