Book: Ben Hur

Title: Ben Hur by Carol Wallace
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Genre: Historical
Publisher: Tyndale
Date: July 19, 2016

Ben Hur. The very title of this book evokes immediate response in generations of people. Most instantly have horses, chariots and roman gladiators in mind. Some picture Charlton Heston. Some might even have a bit of a stab of guilt because they haven’t read the book or watched the film.  I fell into that latter category until recently.

Judah Ben-Hur is a Jewish nobleman. He’s always only known comfort, luxury, and preferential treatment. Though he treats others well, his best friend, Messala, comes to resent him. Unaware of his friend’s anger, Judah still treats his friend with trust and respect.  Unfortunately, his friend isn’t worthy of either of those things.

When a freak accident puts Judah on the radar of the Romans, Messala does not step forward to help Judah. Rather than just leaving well enough alone, he turns on Judah and thus begins the most horrifying journey of Judah’s life.

Slavery, torture, imprisonment – these are just the beginning of Judah’s new life. His mother and sister are turned out from their home and imprisoned as well.

Though many might remember cumbersome language from their reading of Ben Hur, Carol Wallace, the great granddaughter of the original author, Lew Wallace, does a brilliant job updating the text for modern day readers. This was a captivating book that kept my attention throughout the reading. I couldn’t wait to move on to each new chapter and I was completely engrossed. It is no wonder that this book has not only survived, but thrived from generation to generation. The story is something that can touch the hearts of a vast audience. Who, after all, doesn’t understand unfair treatment? Needing to find yourself in your story? Proving yourself? All of these themes resonate throughout and make this book a rich adventure indeed!

There is a feature film of this book coming this summer and I, for one, will be very excited to see it. I will be sharing this new, updated version of a powerful classic with my family and am happy to be a small link in the chain passing it from generation to generation.

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