I’ve read a few of Jeffrey Brown’s books. They are often short and sweet, filled with quiet and compelling moments. The first book I read by Brown was Clumsy, a story of falling in and out of love. The book is an excellent read: equal parts sweet, funny, and sad. I found myself almost cringing at parts (particularly he and his girlfriend’s distaste for safe sex) because it is such a deeply personal read. But that’s just how Brown writes. He wrenches his heart out and illustrates it in detail on the page.
The back cover of A Matter of Life calls the book an “autobiographical meditation on fatherhood and faith.” Having read some of Brown’s previous work, seeing him progress to where he is in this book is really fascinating. He couldn’t be farther from Clumsy. He has a wife named Jenny and a son; they make up an adorable family unit.
The book explores Brown’s diminishing faith in Christianity as he grows up and how this is complicated by his devout family, his father being a minister. He expresses this evolution through a series of vignettes varying from childhood recollections to high school, college, and more present moments. As I’ve come to expect from Brown, these moments are personal and poignant. The way he connects all these bits of information makes for a cohesive and interesting book. It explores his relationship with his parents, his wife, and his son and how this relates to these themes of faith and fatherhood then and now. Brown may have lost faith in God but found it in other places, namely, his belief in science. Ultimately, I believe it could be argued that his faith turned to fatherhood. Now the same kind of devout energy is put into raising his son and being a family.
A Matter of Life is a fun, quick read, as is most of Brown’s work. I found parts of it hard to connect to, specifically the child raising bits, but overall I found it a good and engaging read.
Until next time!
P.S. I went to the beach today for the first time this summer. It was basically a bajillion degrees outside but I LOVED IT. As I will say forever and always about the heat: At least it is not snowing. Yay summer!