He grew up black in Arkansas with tough parents and a tender heart. So aspiring poet and writer Lonnie Philips took to pen and paper to make sense of life and living. The result is this book, an earnest mix that is part poetry, part autobiography and part scrapbook (including copies of letters to and from the White House urging various presidents to lead by prayer and, in a letter to former Sen. Hillary Clinton, asking for a job “when you run for president” and win.). The collection also includes Bible verses, a business idea and even the U.S. Army recruitment slogan: “Be all that you can be.”
The author’s purpose? To motivate others to “find God and develop a relationship with Him,” as he did. “All of creation is waiting for you to step forward born anew,” he writes. These are admirable hopes, indeed. Altogether, however, Phillips packs in too many diverse elements to achieve success. Even the author seems to recognize the problem, as he has tacked on a summary at book’s end to describe what just happened. “This book is inspirational, autobiographical and apocalyptic,” it reads. “…Glean what’s relevant to you and give what’s left to a friend.”
In truth, that’s the author’s job–to edit with focus. Done right, a polished product results. Phillips would do well to decide on his audience (men or teen boys, for example) and his format–then commit to one big idea.
His intent to evangelize is sound. To make that intent work as a book, the author will want to develop a simpler approach that will give his work better focus and impact.
Also available in hardcover.