The Cactus Stabbers (by Jeff Lucas)

It’s some years now since a friend suggested - correctly! - that I might enjoy books by Jeff Lucas. He’s a British Christian writer who now lives and works in the United States; his books are down to earth, with self-deprecating anecdotes, some dry humour, and much to think about. So I’m gradually building up a collection.

I was given ‘The Cactus Stabbers’ for Christmas, and picked it up to read, intrigued as much as anything by the title. This fairly slim volume (a little over 130 pages in all) contains around twenty short chapters, most of them describing an encounter that the author had with a variety of different people around the world. In a few he recounts anecdotes that have taught him useful lessons, such as the time he went camping, or the build-up to the Christmas season.

I could relate to a lot of the book, realising that some of the people included were caricatured, and yet realistic. The ‘cactus stabbers’ turn out to be people utterly dedicated to a cause in a way that caused Lucas to consider how passionate he is about his own faith.

He writes, too, of an elderly lady who taught him about confidence in the future, of a control freak he came across, of someone who has decided to smile… and a host of other fascinating people and situations.

I read two or three chapters each day for about a week, first thing in the morning, and found much to think about. I don’t remember everything I read, but it was refreshing and thought-provoking and I look forward to reading it again in a few years.

Not everyone would appreciate the informality of the writing, or indeed the clear Christian focus - in all Jeff Lucas’s writing, he gently points us to Jesus - but I enjoyed it very much. Recommended.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's Book Reviews

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