12 June 2014

The Fight by Luke Wordley

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The battle over a man's past. 
A fight for a boy's future. 

Sam Pennington’s life has fallen apart. His father is dead. His mum’s started drinking. And now they’ve been dumped in a dismal public-housing complex in East London. Sam’s anger at his circumstances puts him on the brink of expulsion from school and into dangerous conflict with those around him.

Professional boxing trainer Jerry Ambrose has finally gotten everything together. After a turbulent early life, his newfound faith has helped him reconcile with his past and dedicate his life to helping others.

But when a brutal street fight leads Sam to Jerry’s boxing club, both their futures are thrown into question. As Jerry reaches out to Sam, an extraordinary fighting talent emerges – a talent that reopens the wounds of Jerry’s own life. Both find themselves battling what can happen to a man’s soul when his anger is channeled through his fists.

Despite wowing ringside crowds, Sam’s boxing success fails to bring him peace or happiness, while Jerry’s inner struggles threaten the very core of his beliefs. Can Sam be saved from his rage? Or will Jerry’s reawakened ambition tear them both apart?

Luke Wordley’s The Fight surprised me. After starting to read, I realized the story is not as much about boxing as I initially assumed. More important are the relationships and interactions built between characters, using boxing as merely a starting point and connection. In this narrative, Wordley offers an engaging spiritual discussion of the reasons for fighting – holding on and letting go, victory and surrender, salvation, redemption and second chances. It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s thought-provoking – definitely worth a read.

However, I should note, there were a couple aspects of The Fight that held me back from absolutely, wholeheartedly loving it:
     1. I did not feel compelled to keep reading. I could set the book down and pick it up later without too much thought in between.
     2. A few moments, especially in Jerry’s plotline, seemed a bit extreme and left me thinking, Wait, how did it get this bad so quickly? Did I miss something?
Still, even with these notes, I enjoyed Wordley’s The Fight and, like I already mentioned, would recommend it. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this novel and the chance to honestly review it.

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