Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Dr. W. Lee Warren, an Iraq War veteran and practicing brain surgeon, has struggled with how to give hope to his brain cancer and head injury patients after looking at their grave test results and thinking, “I’ve seen the end of you.” Dr. Warren combines several of his patients’ medical stories with a stretch of his own tough journey of faith in his memoir, I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know.
When approaching a hard, tragic read like this, rather than waiting for the author to give me a bunch of perfect, definitive answers to life’s difficult questions, I come looking to see how another human being processes something that everyone faces in some form at one time or another. Seeing how someone else finds light through their dark experiences can give us a little more light for our own.
Fair warning to the squeamish that the medical content in the book can get pretty graphic, and to anyone who may be expecting only literal accounts, the author does use fictitious representatives and composites of several individuals to protect the identities of real people.
But the stories are true, as is the author’s journey. Now, he rehashes some of the same basic statements and questions a number of times, and there are places where he seems to wander while figuring out what to say next or where to stop. I feel that certain points he makes get a little lost; they would have been stronger and easier to remember if the book had been condensed, more concise.
Nevertheless, several of the author’s thoughts echo my own, such as his views on handing Christian platitudes to grieving people, and the danger of building one’s faith on the erroneous assumption that belief in God is supposed to exempt believers from tragedy. No, this isn’t a pleasant read that offers easy fixes, but ultimately, it’s still a message of hope, shining light through darkness.