The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom

May 19, 2011 at 12:43 (Biography, Book Reviews, Highly Rated Books, Historical, Second World War) (, , )

8/10

The lives of saints can make for difficult reading. They are better than their readers, humbler and kinder in every way. What would they do with a negative response? Smile and bless their critic. It is easy to come out of those pages feeling angrier and more hopeless than before, knowing that there is no way to live up to each particular glowing account. How fortunate then, that Corrie remains charming and honest throughout the entirety of this book. When she is furious with the stupidity (and yet grudgingly impressed by the faith) of her sister, she admits to it. When she makes mistakes she owns them, and is never one to straddle a high horse; when she preaches it is from a place of profound humility and shyness.

Moreover, the resounding theme throughout this book is that nothing good–not patience or forgiveness or strength or wisdom, or even love–can be conjured up from some hidden place within. All are given to the Lord, and all are ascribed to his mercy. If anything could drag a painted saint down to the level of the despairing reader and impart comfort and grace, this simple axiom is that. As an historical account the book is flawless, written without reserve or without demonising either man or machine. The impression of unimpeachable honesty stands throughout, and while it is perhaps a shame that the biography of the ten Boom family is so abruptly truncated, there is ample and delightful digression into the distant past of the Beje and Casper’s grandfather to satisfy the transfixed, though not enough to drown the light reader.

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