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Struggle Central: Quarter-Life Confessions of a Messed Up Christian Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Right from the beginning, TMZ makes one thing clear: Although Struggle Central is his story, it isn't really about him. The book is meant neither to shock nor impress its readers with his mistakes and triumphs. Its purpose is to encourage. It tells its readers, “You’re not alone!”
In Struggle Central, TMZ is remarkably honest, seeming to hold back nothing, making some heavy confessions. This is a book about loneliness, insecurity, fear and isolation. It deals with pornography, homosexuality, shame and doubt. If I wrote a memoir, I doubt I could be so vulnerable.
In all its confessions, Struggle Central tempers honesty with its strong sense of purpose. The book could easily have been a pleading, self-conscious cry for attention. It could have been a halfhearted attempt at openness, gilding its mistakes with excuses and rationalizations. Struggle Central is neither of those things. Its confessions are made as evidence of the book’s fundamental message: “You are not alone; there is hope.”
A number of the confessions in the book resonated with me. As an introvert, I relate to TMZ’s failed attempts to connect with people in churches. As a sinner, I understand the rationalization, shame and self-loathing in TMZ’s struggles to overcome pornography. As an insecure person, I know TMZ’s discouragement at how everyone else seems to be talented, successful or perfect. Struggle Central may not touch all of its readers, but it sure touched me.
On a literary level, Struggle Central has a surprisingly strong narrative. It recounts not a random string of events, but a structured story. TMZ doesn't merely spit out facts. He highlights certain experiences, adding digressions and flashbacks wherever necessary to keep his story flowing smoothly. In the book’s story and structure, nothing is wasted.
The style of Struggle Central is a different matter: the book is packed with modifiers. If I had a penny for every qualifier, adjective and adverb, I would probably have enough cash to buy coffee at Starbucks.
Despite its many modifiers, the writing in Struggle Central isn't bad. It’s engaging, readable, informal and crammed with sentence fragments and one-sentence paragraphs for emphasis. All the same, my nitpicky sensibilities were rubbed the wrong way by the constant use of modifiers and dramatic sentence fragments. The more they were used, the less impact they made. There were also a few puns and pop culture references that made me roll my eyes.
In the end, though, the writing takes secondary consideration to the book’s message and purpose—and these are excellent. Struggle Central has a clear and positive purpose, and it does a fine job of sticking to it. It could use a little polish, yet Struggle Central is a touching read for anyone who struggles—that is, for any human being on Earth.
I came across Thomas Mark Zuniga's first ever book quite by chance. Having a sense of what the content might be about, I purchased it on a whim and started reading.
It did not take very long for me to realise that this was no ordinary account of one guy's quarter life story of struggle when discovering that he is gay. And just to add to the whole complex mix, being introverted and sporting a crushing sense of inferiority as well.
Seriously, I could not put this book down. It proved to be such a compelling read that I unconsciously missed out on meals and sleep just to keep reading so that the rhythm of Tom's account, in beautifully crafted writing, tender one moment, raw the next was not interrupted.
As I read, I found that I was journeying with Tom. I found myself cheering for him through the victories. I also found myself crying real tears for him through the agony. There were times when I figuratively speaking simply wanted to scoop him up, comfort him, protect him, whisper into his ear reassuring words of Christ's great love for him.
This is testimony to Tom's compelling writing style and craft with words. It is also testimony to Tom's transparently laid-bare honesty in the recounting of his life.
However, this is not simply a collection of beautifully crafted words (which they are). This is real life, Tom's life. And it is way more than this even. Tom points beyond himself.
It becomes very clear that his struggle is really no different to anyone else's. We are all in some way, shape or form, bearing burdens no less agonising than those borne by Tom. To quote Tom in a recent conversation:
"We are all lost and in need of redemption. Thank goodness Christ offers that redemption to each one of us struggling souls."
In conclusion, my summation of this account of Tom's is one that is beautifully written, gut wrenchingly honest, dripping with integrity, painfully tear soaked and joyfully hopeful.
It demonstrates so very clearly why no gay person should ever be placed in a position where they feel too frightened to `come out'.
Please read this book.
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I am reminded of Romans 3:23.... For all have fallen short of the glory of God. The nobody's perfect verse.Read more