Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at the Struggle within All of Us

Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at the Struggle within All of Us

4.4 61
by Josh James Riebock

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Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we've gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we've been given. So how do we make sense of life's unexpected nature, find a way to

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Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we've gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we've been given. So how do we make sense of life's unexpected nature, find a way to embrace the tension, and live with a sense of peace despite pain?

In this stunningly honest, compelling, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues of trust, obedience, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey that form us into the people we are. In a creative way, he shows readers that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

Those grappling with life's inconsistencies and trials will especially find a welcome resonance between their lives and Heroes and Monsters. Riebock both validates their experiences and challenges them to live beyond them in this ever-changing life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With transparent detail, Riebock (mY Generation: A Real Journey of Change and Hope) tells the story of his messy, confused, and gloriously grace-filled life in his sophomore effort. The book reads like a journal, or better yet, a graphic novel—complete with vivid illustrations of more pivotal episodes in the author’s life. While at times the story moves forward with the jerks of a teenage chauffeur, Riebock is able to transport readers nimbly to and from the painful, awkward, and meaningful moments of his life where mercy, love, and hope seep in through the seams. From the field where Riebock’s drunk father drives him right into Jack (a scarecrow who becomes Jesus’ alter ego in the book) to a hotel room in central Texas where an introvert gets comfortable with himself, Riebock’s struggles, both mundane and dramatic, reflect readers’ own life sagas and clearly reveal the author’s theological points without being systematic. As Riebock writes “Words are giants, able to lift people up, carry them to the stars, and tear planets apart...” his own locutions are vulnerable and imaginative, powerful without being forceful, certainly able to lift readers up and impart hope for the journey. (Mar.)

Product Details

Baker Publishing Group
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5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Heroes and Monsters 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
tashabouvier More than 1 year ago
When I saw the video of an excerpt from Josh Riebock's book, Heroes and Monsters, the stream of consciousness, poetic writing style really grabbed my attention because it reminded me of the beat poets ~ Bukowski, Kerouac, Ginsberg. Then I heard Josh speak and he said so much that resonated with the feelings and thoughts I've had about life and God and trying to honor both of them with my words, actions and relationships. Hearing his message I knew I had to have the book. This book has been described as a work of art, and I have to agree. The writing is daring, creative and rich. It was refreshing to hear a Christian talk about the things that are so often avoided in Christian literature in a way that doesn't make your skin crawl with its churchiness. This book exposes the duality between the tangible and the spiritual lives and helps you look at yourself as one integrated creature who was made to be transparent and real, not to live up to others' expectations. I want to read it again (as soon as my husband is done reading it!)
JulieBrownCasey More than 1 year ago
When I started reading this book, I couldn't stop! Every story Josh told about his life had me thinking "Wow -- that is EXACTLY how I feel!" Josh's gift for storytelling and writing allows him to put thoughts and feelings into words much better than I could ever articulate. There is some relief in that, actually -- to find someone who has experienced intense pain, who has struggled with self-hate and self-doubt, who has questioned his faith, who has waded into the morass of despair...and yet is not afraid to look in these dark, scary places of the soul. In fact, here's a person who has the ability to turn all that pain and darkness into something beautiful and redeeming, using nothing more than courage and words. There is redemption in every chapter of Josh's life, and in every chapter of this book. I didn't realize this was a "God" book until I was well into it. In fact, I don't think I would have picked up this book if it had been hanging out in the "Christian" section, because I'm not a traditionally 'churchy' person. But that's the beauty of Josh's perspective on how God works in our lives: He shows up in the most unexpected places, not looking like anything you'd ever imagined. Even though Josh does not use the words "God" or "Jesus" anywhere in the pages, "Heroes and Monsters" is ultimately a story of how Divine Love is with us in every moment -- in pain and joy, in heartache and celebration, in loneliness and friendship. Josh doesn't tell you directly about God. He shows you: Josh is honest, detailed, and open as he shares his own story, and in this way, he lets you discover God in key moments of his life: in a car wreck, in a hospital room, in the woods, in a pool, on a stage, at a computer. And you can feel it. Seriously, there were times I got goose-bumps. I laughed. I cried. God's right there with you in these pages. Through the words. Through the stories. Through Josh. "Heroes and Monsters" deeply touched me, giving me the courage to explore the painful places in my own soul. And after reading it, I'm reminded that I'm not alone in that journey.
DavidHelms More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was fantastic. It was an honest spiritual memoir that I could relate to. I could never relate to the "I did drugs, robbed banks and then a flash of light and I'm completely different and famous!" memoir, but a story of a man who is honest about his good moments and his dark moments. God pours in through the cracks in his life, wanting to be part of it when it is good and when it's not. The honesty of this book reached into my chest, pulled out my heart and attached it to my sleeve (not literally). It made me feel more than any book I have read since Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz".
ISayWeCuddleNow More than 1 year ago
Josh is a beautifully talented writer, as is evident in Heroes and Monsters. The rawness and reality of what he writes is a breath of fresh air, especially for its genre. The words are intricately laced together in a way that makes it easy to relate to. Oftentimes, I find myself reading through books very slowly, but I got through this in no time. It was one of those books that I just did not want to put down. There was something so real and grabbing about it that made me want to keep turning pages. The book helped me realize that there are heroes and monsters in each of us and that Jack is there through both no matter what happens.
DeeDeeWillis More than 1 year ago
another one of my favorite type of books. makes you grow within and think deeper about life.
mark_organic More than 1 year ago
Not since Blue Like Jazz has a memoir been so honest, gripping, funny, and universally relatable. Spirituality is accessible once again. Josh Riebock's Heroes and Monsters is more than a book, more than a memoir. It reads like an epistle. The words and stories dripping with honesty and vulnerability. Weighty, alive, connected, and crawling under the skin, this writer's uncommon humility and truthfulness shed light on our common struggles and victories. Josh's story is our story. Beautiful, messy, glorious, awkward, faithful, disloyal, heroic, and insecure. The unifying bond of humanity is reaffirmed and celebrated. We're all the same at our core: despairing and weak in spite of our desire to be hopeful and strong. Each of us cherished by a God who spends each day inventing new ways to communicate his unending love for us. This book will inspire you, make y you laugh (and cry), and remind you of how fortunate we all are to be on this journey of life and faith, together.
Christy04CS More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my son because Josh was a speaker at a Christian Camp my son attended. Josh was the highlight of my sons week at camp. He liked Josh so much he bought his book mY generation. (BTW great book also) In Heros and Monsters Josh is able to tell story after story that include imagination, honesty, reality, truth and Jack (God). His creativity is refreshing. His honesty is comforting. I think any reader no matter age, sex, believer or non-believer, will find a piece of themselves in the pages. I did. Also, it inspired me to draw closer to my creator. So, glad I read both my sons books, can't wait for my son to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
salvadore57 More than 1 year ago
pretty good book that I couldn't put down. makes you think more about life.
helenMac More than 1 year ago
pretty good book. I liked it.
Taren_ More than 1 year ago
This book is a brilliant read. Josh Riebock has the unique ability to paint with his words. The entire book is one huge, beautiful, story of reality woven and stroked into a tale that speaks to the heart and touches the soul. The transparency he speaks through the entirety of the book actually blows my mind - The honest struggle that resides within all of us and the intimate parts of his life he shares. I would recommend this book to anyone. Hats off to this man; his dreams, his talents and his life which he so graciously pours out before us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that spoke to my soul. I found it touching, challenging, and encouraging. Josh's story is one that is creative, relatable, and honest. It left me encouraged to grow stronger in my faith and challenged me to become a person that is intentional and more authentic (relationally and spiritually).
emkusber More than 1 year ago
Heroes and Monsters is by far one of the greatest and realest books I've ever read. Josh Riebock has an amazing gift and is a fantastic writer.  His other book. mY Generation is another one of my favorites. It doesn't matter what your background is, where you come from, where you are or where you're going, Heroes and Monsters is a great read for people in all kinds of situations.  TWO THUMBS UP! 
ande2994 More than 1 year ago
The style of writing is very easy to read. The metaphors are a little bit strange -- the book goes from autobiographical to fantasy and back without warning. But it's littered with little gems of wisdom. I frequently feel validated because he expresses things that I thought I was alone in experiencing. I've been posting quotes from this book on Facebook and always get comments and likes from my friends. I wish I had a way to keep these quotes in front of me as daily reminders of the bigger picture in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Odd. Boring at times. Over all worth reading. Not lifechanging stuff but you can relate to some of the characters issues.
ACoyReader More than 1 year ago
A creative and interesting way to deal with his coming to terms with God and his faith. I appreciated the story. I felt it slowed a little in the middle, but worth hanging with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so honest, there is something for everyone to relate to. The author is brave to bear so much of his soul to strangers. A good read that really causes a person to think about issues that haven't hit the surface in years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
what a great book. it was like reading a persoal journal. its not a fast paced book but one to take a moment and reflect upon life itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in a stream-of-consciousness form. This man tries to find his purpose in life.
QMere More than 1 year ago
Reading this was like listening to someone tell you about, "this weird dream I had last night.". It went on and on, rarely made sense, and was not inspiring. It is difficult to put into words the journey we all take with the struggle of our faith, but, my goodness, reading it shouldn't have to be a struggle too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aswtgalady More than 1 year ago
Good book. Thought provoking.
WhomTheSunSetsFree More than 1 year ago
We all have a story, here is one author who shares the deepest parts of his, in a book. When reading Heros and Monsters I couldn't help but connect with the human delema that is in us all. God (or in the book Jack, which happens to also be my dads name) is reaching into Josh's life over and over. Finally breaking into his brokenness Jack shows Josh how he wants to use his life. Josh struggled with what we all do, hearing Jack but then questioning him. Which really comes down to us question ourselves our worth and our insecuritys. Josh points out a key topic as we walk in faith, but not in a corney way like most books built on the foundation of Christian thinking. He shows us through his story that there is freedom to be had, but to get that freedom we need to know ourselves. We need to dig deep, and expose our inner most being to those in our lives. I highly recommend this book. If you like self reflection and a bit of humor Josh is your author. After meeting and hearing a bit of his story in person I had to read this book, and at this point it's one of my favorites. Also Josh has a great voice in the story that makes you feel like you are sharing conversation with someone over coffee, rather than reading. Those are the books I love. Cheers and happy reading!