An excellent work of honesty, truth and beauty
Reviewed in the United States on 14 April 2020
I never heard of Andrew Peterson before I picked up Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making. I discovered this book by happenstance and was initially reluctant because I had just read a book on writing by another Christian that disappointed me. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered the author was a songwriter as well as an author of fantasy books (a man after my own heart!). And the book, like its author, also went after my heart.
About the book
Adorning the Dark is about the process and mystery of creating art. In this book, Peterson provides us with behind-the-scenes stories of his journey in writing songs to encourage his readers as they also pursue their calling. It is not your typical how-to-write book. Adorning the Dark serves more like a memoir or autobiography with select stories to illustrates specific points about creativity.
Though Peterson mostly pulled from his songwriting experience, Adorning the Dark applies to Christians who seek to use their creativity in the service of their Creator with beauty and excellency.
The book is divided into sixteen chapters, each loaded with stories and anecdotes from the author’s life, and a lesson on creativity to harmonize them. Some of the topics covered include serving the work, serving the audience, selectivity, discernment, discipline, and community. The book also features an afterword with a list of pointers on art and a useful list of book recommendations.
Adorning the Dark was very well written —which is always good on a book on writing. I loved the writing style, imagery, and humor Peterson employed throughout his book. It made it easy to read and extremely enjoyable.
Content-wise, I must say, the book was not what I expected. I didn’t expect it to be so personal and feature that much storytelling. Peterson’s honesty and transparency about his writing journey and the struggles he faced deeply resounded with me. I could relate to some of the things he went through, and I appreciated his encouraging words.
However, as much as I enjoyed learning more about his life, I thought he rambled off at times, and ome of his stories seemed neither here nor there. Also, I think the book leaned too much on the memoir side than on the writing. If you are already familiar with Peterson, it might be a treat. But if like me, you have never heard of him or almost all the names he dropped, it might not be that thrilling. Also, it isn’t really a criticism, but he mentioned Rich Mullins way too much in this book.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Adorning the Dark. The pieces of advice Peterson gave were useful, Christ-centered, and I loved how he wove it through real-life stories. Thanks to this book, I am more encouraged to produce art with honesty, beauty, truth and to do my best to adorn this dark world with the light of Christ.
I recommend this book mostly to fans of Andrew Peterson and Christian writers (songs, books, poetry, etc.). I wholeheartedly agree with the author that we are all creatives, but I think this book is more pertinent and beneficial to writers.
*B&H Publishing graciously gave me a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.*
2 people found this helpful