When the Game is Over, it All Goes Back in the Box (by John Ortberg)

I like John Ortberg's books. He doesn't exactly choose snappy titles, but they're memorable nonetheless, and his writing style suits my taste. He combines anecdotes - often from his family - with encouragement about living day-to-day life as a follower of Jesus. So far, I've found his books thought-provoking and sometimes inspiring. I'm not totally gripped as I am with Philip Yancey's books, but certainly enjoy them.

I've been reading 'When the game is over, it all goes back in the box' for about a couple of weeks now. The author takes the image of a game, such as Monopoly, for the theme of the book. He recounts anecdotes with his grandmother, who taught him a great deal about sportsmanship and games in general, and he relates it to daily life - what we do, how we relate, what our aims are, and so on.

The overall theme is to make live worth living, since it will eventually come to an end, just like a board game. When it's over, there's nothing more we can do. The book is divided into sections - setup, hazards, how to play, and so on - with parts of games used as analogies for different aspects of living life.

I don't suppose there was anything in the book that I hadn't read before in other contexts, but I found an interesting and often thought-provoking read. Ortberg's style is clear and inspiring, and there are some unexpected humorous asides here and there, mostly in parenthesis, which I very much appreciated.

Recommended. Available in Kindle form (links given to Amazon UK and US). Note that there is also a participants' guide available which is not the same book.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 26th January 2009

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