I give up.
From all that I can gather, Eric Metaxas is a nice guy, a smart guy, a funny guy, and generally, a good writer.
But I also am gathering that my wife and I are the ONLY people on planet Earth and, for all we know, in the galaxy not to fall head over heels over his biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I went public with my issues with the work just over a year ago: Bonhoeffer vs. Metaxas. Since then, I’ve yet to find someone who agrees with me.
A recent dinner guest when the subject turned to books mentioned being deeply impressed with the book. He was unaware of my take. A good and wise and discerning friend in Bradenton recently told me that he loved the book. He WAS aware of my view. Ouch.
But that’s not all.
The religious news service recently ran an article about Eric Metaxas being something of the ‘new’ Charles Colson. I’m not sure what a new Charles Colson is, but the article mentioned George W. Bush having read the bio and implied that Barack Obama would do the same.
The NY Times then recently asked National Institutes of Health director and human genome decoder and all around really smart guy Francis Collins about the best books he’s ever read. Of all the books in all the world, he has to mention this one:
I was deeply moved by Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and loved “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” by Walter Isaacson.
Sigh. The irony is that I read the Einstein biography immediately after the Bonhoeffer, and it was so much superior in my mind that the only way to compare them was by contrast. But how do I take issue with presidents and preeminent geneticists?
My opinion has not changed. A biography should tell a story well. Bonhoeffer’s story is great, but this is not a good telling of it. I continue to believe that readers are so drawn to Bonhoeffer that they fail to see the faults of the book itself. So, I guess I haven’t given up after all. I’m just losing.