What is it about being a teen that makes you want to do grand, sweeping things in your life. You’ll solve every problem. The cure for every disease is in your grasp.
It’s like that song by The Statler Brothers. “The Class of ’57.” It goes
“The class of ’57 had its dreams. We all thought we’d change the world with our great works and deeds. Or maybe we just thought the world would change to fit our needs. The class of ’57 had its dreams.”
Look, part of it is “Thunder-puppy syndrome.” You know, that arrogance of youth that knows all the right answers without a clue as to how to apply them with grace.
But I think another part is that as teens, we still haven’t accepted that the fall and decay of mankind is not something we can fix.
And, in that same arrogance, we’re convinced that we can fix it.
The good news is that God did. He just didn’t do it how a teen (or a teen times almost 5) wants to see it play out. We want that utopia we’ve created in our minds to play out in the world. It doesn’t work that way.
A while back, I read about a book—about a girl who believes she has the gift of healing. The David Years by Lillian Duncan. Truth told, I didn’t want to read it. I fully, 100% believe that God heals today. No doubt. However, the synopsis hinted at things that made me wary. Still, here I am. Reviewing the book.
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Why Do Books about Healing Make the Best Reads?
Hope. There’s the answer plain and simple. They offer a picture of the hope we only find in the true Source of Hope—Jesus.
I didn’t know what to expect from The David Years. The story, the premise, even the theology hinted that I might not be its intended audience. By the time I realized that, it was too late. I’d requested a review copy and had received a free ARC.
My early frustrations compounded when I didn’t see it listed as YA in the categories on Amazon. It reads like a book designed for teens. But that’s not where it’s listed. Then I remembered that books often get shifted around by Amazon. That’s not the author’s fault. So I kept reading with an eye to it being YA.
That helped. A lot. Some of the immaturities that irritated me fell away once I saw it for the book it was probably meant to be.
Look, Nia is immature and self-focused. Like many if not most eighteen-year-olds. It’s just par for the growing up course. And that’s okay.
No, really. It is. Sure, as the story played out, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated, but I think I should. It’s what the story was designed to do.
Here’s the thing. This book has a young woman who has a lot going for her. Yes, there are theological things I don’t quite agree with, but I think focusing on those—in this book, anyway—would undermine the solid stuff that is in there.
So, I’ll just note where I took issue and move on.
My understanding of Scripture doesn’t allow for extra-Biblical revelation. That includes God “speaking to us” outside His Word. Obviously, this is a part of this book or I wouldn’t say I took issue.
Additionally, the way Nia is informed that she has the “gift of healing” and it plays out in the story are things I cannot support or refute with Scripture. I think the author did a fabulous job making things that I’m not comfortable with not be over the top. I appreciated that.
Additionally, I had a bit of trouble with the writing.
I don’t know how to explain it, but parts read a bit simplistic—both plot and actual sentence structure. I suspect it’s my issue rather than an actual issue with story. Still, it made reading it a bit frustrating at times.
I’d say that by the time I got to the end of the first half of The David Years, I’d have given it a three-star rating. By the time I finished, despite the grumbling above, I liked it more than didn’t.
Nia grew as a character—three cheers for that. No one was too perfect or irredeemable. Duncan really did a phenomenal job unpeeling those layers. And the real message that only God can heal, deserves glory, and will satisfy rings out beautifully clear by the end.
I think that’s what matters.
Recommended for YA enthusiasts, people who don’t like overly-sappy romance (THANK YOU MS. DUNCAN!!!), and those who enjoy seeing “miraculous gifts” played out in fiction. Of all the fiction I’ve ever seen this done with, The David Years is definitely the best.
As much as I seem to complain about the healing aspect of the book, there’s one amazing thing about books about healing–that little four-letter word. Hope. Ms. Duncan packed a lot of hope in this book. That was beautiful.
Book: The David Years
Author: Lillian Duncan
Genre: Woman’s Lit
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Nia looked at her aunt and asked, “So what am I ‘spose to do now?”
“Have you ever heard of King David from the Bible?”
“There were a lot of years between the time David was anointed as the king and he actually became the king. It’s a time for you to grow in your relationship with God.”
“And then later I get to be king?” Nia giggled.
“I meant that figuratively not literally but these are your learning years–your David Years.”’
“My David Years. I like that.”
Nia Johnson has spent the past four years developing a closer relationship to God. She wants to believe she’s still anointed to become a healer at Puzzle House but as each year passes, she has more and more doubts.
Now that she’s graduated from high school and is an adult she is sure it’s time to take the mantle of healing Rachel passed to her so many years before. But the harder she tries, the more it eludes her.