Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: "Take Your Best Shot"

TITLE: Take Your Best Shot
AUTHOR: Austin Gutwein, Todd Hillard
PUBLISHED: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2009.
Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself
This book tells the remarkable story of a young boy after he witnessed the horrors inflicted by HIV/AIDS on families in Africa. It begins when Austin at 9 years old as he watched a short documentary on AIDS victims. He becomes particularly struck by the image of an African girl of similar age, Maggie. Maggie in the documentary was orphaned after both her parents died of AIDS. While Austin lives comfortably with his basic needs provided in his home in Arizona, Maggie struggles far away in Africa with no certainty of the next meal in her life. While Austin is like any other ordinary American boy shooting to play for the school's basketball team, Maggie is among many ordinary Zambians in Africa, fighting to survive the terrible onslaught of the AIDS disease.

With the image of Maggie's plight etched indelibly in his mind, Austin is motivated by one phrase: "God wants to use you." Thus begins am amazing journey of Austin's desire to help AIDS victims in the simplest possible way he knows: Shoot basketball free throws.

After calculating the number of AIDS victims and the numbers that died every hour, Austin arrives at a figure of 2057. He discusses this with his parents and friends, and manages to get a small group to support him as he begins his free throws marathon. Surprisingly, word about his small fund-raising effort gets out. People pledge donations as they see this young boy doing his best to highlight the African AIDS predicament.

Believing in his heart that 'God wants to use you," Gutwein makes his free throws. The local media gets wind of his efforts. More people come to support him. At the end of the marathon, he made his point. He raised about $3000 from that effort. Few years later, that figure mushroomed multiple fold. When Gutwein turns 14 years old, he sets up an organization called 'Hoops of Hope,' which has since become an amazing success story as far as the public awareness of AIDS is concerned.

My Comments
Though this is a book written by a juvenile, it should appeal to a wider audience. Some of us adults who have failed to pursue our dreams when we were young, should feel inspired rather than ashamed. Gutwein did what he knows best, to show other boys and girls his age, that "God wants to use you." We need more stories like Gutwein's.

I am aware that some people may be cynical about Gutwein's rise to fame, and that Christians should not be too infatuated with 'big results,' or 'high publicity' stints like Gutwein's. Having said this, God can use big organizations or small individuals. He can use public media, or private persons. He can also use highly visible connected individuals, or unknowns in this world. God being God, is free to use anybody. While not many of us will be able to rise to fame the way Gutwein did, do not be discouraged if the world fails to recognize your efforts. God knows. May that be sufficient for us, servants of God.

Overall, this is a book that should inspire young people to take their best shot. It should also motivate adults to do the same. Take your best shot. Let God use that shot to touch lives.

Book Rating: 3.5 stars of 5.

What about you?

p/s: My Amazon book review is here. It is a little different, but the idea is similar.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable now at your favourite bookseller."

No comments:

Latest Posts