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I Am David Hardcover – June, 1972
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|Hardcover, June, 1972||
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"Read it, read it!"--The Horn Book
"Extraordinary and unforgettable."--Chicago Tribune
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I saw the movie first, and was greatly moved, which led me to read the book. There is some difference between the two--part of the role of Jim Caviezel's character in the movie is accomplished in the book by another unlikely character towards the end. Also in the movie the identity of the person helping David escape is not revealed till the end, whereas in the book it's established from the beginning, but the mystery there (in the book) is "why" this person helped him. Besides the relatively few story changes from book to movie, the book places you "inside" David's head, whereas in the movie you are an outside observer of his circumstances.
Being "inside" David's head allows you to share in more of his thoughts and feelings. The theme of understanding God's character and love for David was very powerfully accomplished in the book. When David loses his compass, he begins to feel hopeless and realizes his need for "outside" help, for which he turns to God. This is such an interesting and beautiful process because he has very limited knowledge of God. All he knows is a small bit of information given to him by Johannes, his late friend and mentor from the camp. Johannes had once told David that a long time ago there was another boy named David who wrote songs about his God and that his God led to green pastures and beside still waters. David made the decision to worship "that God" based on his need for "green pastures and still waters", and throughout the story he addresses God as such in his prayers to him ("God of green pastures and still waters").
He begins relating to God on a somewhat "legalistic" basis--sort of an "if you do this favor for me, then I'll do this favor for you" type of system. There are times when he needs God's help, but refuses to call on Him for help because he doesn't feel he's yet "earned" it. There are actually some incredible moments within that though--the extent that David is willing to go to to make his life worthy of God's involvement and to please God. But by the end of the book, through various circumstances (and one particularly powerful, very symbolic circumstance towards the end of the story), God sovereignly reveals His grace to David--not based on what David can earn, but on God's love for him. The story also affirms to David his value and worth to God--that he (David) is worth sacrificing for.
And without giving too much away...the story has a very happy, satisfying ending!
Though listed as juvenile fiction, this is a 'must read' for adults as well.
Chrissy K. McVay
author of 'Souls of the North Wind'