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Heroes and Monsters: An Honest Look at the Struggle within All of Us Paperback – March 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013980
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Vulnerable and imaginative, powerful without being forceful, certainly able to lift readers up and impart hope for the journey. -- Publisher's Weekly

A wonderful story on life's struggles with grief, sacrifice, and redemption.--Fred Burton, author of Ghost and Chasing Shadows 

Josh narrates God's grace in the white spaces of his life.--Dave Goetz, author of Death by Suburb

A beautiful book...Josh tells his life story with lively prose that explores the paradox of human splendor and wretchedness while dangling hints of redemption...For Josh, the road traveled with God is twisting, bumpy, potholed...and well worth the ride. --Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal; author of Generation Ex-Christian

From the Back Cover

Heroes and Monsters is an unforgettable memoir of passion and redemption, a ragged look into a world at once wildly twisted and profoundly beautiful, an exposé of both the hero and the monster within all of us.

In this stunningly honest, thoroughly unconventional, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues that form us  into the people we are--issues of family, love, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey. With artful prose and vivid storytelling, he shows that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

If you're grappling with life's inconsistencies and trials,
if you're searching for an encounter with something real,
if you're craving a story that's just a wee bit odd . . .

Heroes and Monsters is a fresh and exhilarating perspective on the uneven nature of life and the equally uneven people who inhabit it. 

More About the Author

Josh was raised near Chicago, in a loving home that also featured alcoholism, hoarding, and a buffet of other peccadilloes. After college hopping for five years, Josh took a job at a church. It was there that he became reacquainted with his childhood love for telling stories-- Speaking of love, it's also during that time that he got married to Kristen, a girl that he grew up just a few houses away from.

Hungry for something a bit different--and certainly a warmer climate--the two of them moved to Austin, where Josh joined another church staff. The following year would be one of the most eventful of his life. It began with Kristen and Josh adopting their dog/son, Ditka, whom they became instantly obsessed with. Then, after nearly six years of working in churches, Josh decided that it was time to chase his long dormant dream of becoming a writer. So he quit his church job. But before he could really enjoy his newfound pursuit, both of his parents died only weeks apart. And while this was, and remains, the most difficult time in his life, it has also played a crucial role in making him into who he is today, shaping the way he writes, speaks, and interacts with the world.

In 2009, Baker Publishing Group released his first book, My Generation. His upcoming book, Heroes and Monsters, will be released in the spring of 2012. Josh maintains a busy travel schedule, speaking around the country at conferences, colleges, and churches. And yes, he really enjoys it very, very much.

If he isn't writing or speaking, he's probably in Austin, Texas, spending time with Kristen and Ditka, or reading, fiction probably, maybe something by Daniel Wallace or Chuck Palahniuk or Dave Eggers, or he might be watching an 80's movie, or talking about football with his friends.


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Customer Reviews

Josh Riebock's Heroes and Monsters is more than a book, more than a memoir.
These stories invite you to become who you you want to be and who God wants us to be as broken and beautiful people in a truly compelling way.
Chip Huber
The interview was perfect, as there was not too much information to spoil some of the beauty to be discovered in the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By T. Bennett on March 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was happy to read an early copy of this book. To put it simply, it changed me. From the opening crash in a cornfield to his contemplations on life, faith, and why we are here--Josh made me laugh and cry and understand more about myself on this journey called living. Told in a style that feels like a trippy memoir, the depth of subjects pondered and wrestled with here is astonishing. Josh's head ponderings on death and grief as he bumps through his relationship and then death of his father, made me hurt and yet find comfort that others know grief as I do. And to see that grief is never simple nor easy. With such vivid descriptions and boyish exhuberance, this is a book to savor. I promise you will see yourself in these pages. I did and I can't wait to read it again.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Brannen Padgett on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the years, there are a number of books that seem to deepen the authenticity of my faith...books that make me really wrestle with the struggles and questions we all have in our souls...and this is one of those books! As I journeyed through Heroes and Monsters, I was confronted with questions like, "How authentic is my faith?" and "How honest am I with the struggles I have?" I know the Sunday School or "churchy" answer to most questions about faith, life, and Jesus, but are those answers an accurate portrayal of the condition of my own soul? Josh has a way of presenting the high and low points of his life in such an honest way that you are forced to work through the authenticity of own your faith, struggles you find in your own soul and life, and tensions you find in relationships. You will be gripped by the stories of depravity and redemption found in this book!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to take an honest look at the struggles and tensions we all have in souls. In fact, I've already bought another copy to give to a friend!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By TDean on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Take it from a Hero/Monster. Heroes and Monsters is a definite Must-Read. The radio interview with Josh was all it took to catch and reel me in for this unexpected treasure. I was minding my own business, scanning radio stations that had become a few desperate static-spewers in the hills of Tennessee, and there was an Austin, Texas author talking about his book. He seemed like the age of our Son #1, and he is! The interview was perfect, as there was not too much information to spoil some of the beauty to be discovered in the book. I got my copy as soon as I got back home to Texas, and I couldn't put it down until I finished it.

One of the surprises of the book is the way that I became interchangeable with the characters. I could see my sons in the stories, but Josh writes in such a deep and blended fashion that I was able to find myself throughout the book...not just a Hero/Monster, but as Josh, his friends, his family, Kristen. I fully expected to see HIS generation, THEIR generation. I expected to be able to point fingers, and say, I TOLD YOU. How he so completely bridged the gap, transporting me into HIS world, THEIR world...it tore down my heart in order for it to be rebuilt. I found myself asking, How does he (How do I?) pull himself up out of this? It turned into a marathon of reading to the next stopping place, but I couldn't stop even when I thought I got there.

I admit, I'm not much into reading books. I got by in school, reading the funny book version of every required reading, when I could get away with it. My wife, the real reader, the Educator, the Mother of our 3 sons, confirmed my suspicions as she was reading the book...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JRA on April 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is difficult to imagine the potential impact -- immediate and long-term -- of Josh Riebock's latest work, "Heroes and Monsters". Being a serious literary fan, I find it easy to file Riebock's piece alongside the "Wild at Hearts", "Velvet Elvis"s and "Blue Like Jazz"s of the world, but am not satisfied slotting it in a singular, all-encompassing genre. While those seem to be appropriate placeholders or comparisons, "Heroes and Monsters", a memoir of life, is so much more than the descriptors of a single, traditional label.

On one hand, Riebock's writing can smack you across the face with its sharp conviction -- the shot to the gut you've been looking for -- while on the other hand, it possesses the ability to lead you on a very personal journey - a journey whose destination is still very much to be determined.

Riebock introduces a style of writing that is more relevant and applicable than most authors I have come across in the last decade. His voice is one of authenticity and experience - of mighty victory and of overwhelming loss. He is, at one moment, an authority, and at the next, a wandering, curious child. At one point I was reminded of "The Road Less Traveled" and at another, of "Tuesdays with Morrie", all the while being led by a yearning friend who wanted me to see it as my own.

It is one thing to possess a writing style that impresses with bravado and another to possess an effectiveness that relates to the daily grind each of us feel - desire, loss, achievement, heartache, joy and sorrow. In "Heroes and Monsters", Riebock possess both. In "Heroes and Monsters" you will find an expansive treasure map with endless destinations. And you will find that voice you've been seeking, to help make sense of things along the way.
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