14 July 2014

The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey that Begins Where Common Sense Ends by Kevin Adams

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At the height of financial success, Kevin Adams had it all. A thriving marketing business with more work than he could get to, investments spread out between two luxury homes, various residential and commercial real estate, and hefty retirement accounts. But in the last 100 days of 2008, Kevin watched in silent amazement as his house of cards came tumbling down. By January 2009, he had lost everything.

The Extravagant Fool is an underdog narrative. It is the story of a man with a choice: Do what he had always done – work harder – or let go and lean on God. In the face of lawsuits, foreclosures, potential homelessness, and his family's doubts, Kevin took the unlikely position of stopping every effort to survive and resting instead at the feet of Jesus.

In a style akin to Blue Like Jazz, Kevin chronicles a very difficult three-year period during which he came to know true helplessness and true intimacy with God. The process of trust is a gamble that only the Extravagant Fool is willing to take. Readers will emerge from this breathtaking story with a transformative new understanding of what it means to walk by faith.

Kevin Adams’ The Extravagant Fool is a truly inspirational story. As he tells of his sudden and complete financial loss and the subsequent hardships, Adams writes transparently and bravely of his personal flaws and failings and the challenges he helped to create for his family. Though many readers may not have had the same drastic change in circumstances, his story is relatable and relevant from cover to cover. In the midst of the glaring and overwhelming difficulties, Adams, falling to his knees before God, finds lessons and reminders of His reliable character and providence – valuable material for any Christ follower. It never hurts to be reminded to live Christ-centered rather than Christian-centered, and I know I definitely pulled a lot of insight from The Extravagant Fool. It is not only inspirational, but also entirely encouraging and thought-provoking.

However, I did have a bit of a problem with Adams’ chosen writing style. In the given blurb, his style is likened to Donald Miller’s in Blue Like Jazz. While I can see some similarities, I do not remember stumbling over so many of Miller’s sentences. Adams writes poetically, filling paragraphs with metaphors and imagery, and to me, many parts just seemed confusing. Several times I read paragraphs over again to try to understand how he connected certain sentences, ideas or images together and still could not quite grasp it.

Despite the at-times problematic writing style, I think Kevin Adams’ The Extravagant Fool is a worthwhile read, and I recommend it. I thank BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a copy of this book and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

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