This book is the story of a young teen. BJ, as he was called, was a very unusual kid. Small for his age, he managed to capture the hearts of everyone around him. Attention gravitated to him like a magnet; he influenced large numbers of people in his short life. At age 14 he got himself invited as an underage participant on a church mission trip to Peru, returning there the next summer as well. That second summer he contracted a severe infection (posthumously diagnosed as bubonic plague) and by the end of September he died.
The book, written by his parents, Brent & Deanna Higgins, includes many writings from BJ’s journals and communications with friends. They demonstrate an unswerving devotion to God and saving others. His intense single-mindedness certainly attracted a lot of people.
The biggest problem with the book is that it is written exclusively for a Church audience. I doubt many non-Church people would be able to wade through the churchy language and pious mindset of the story. And from what I read, this goes directly against the aim and purpose of BJ’s life. His own sense of mission was to the “lost”, that is, to those who are outside the Church. But not many of his target audience will be tempted to read this book.
I can accept the blind devotion to Church teaching from one so young. He had yet to grow into the maturity where he would be able to realize that God is so much larger than mere Church theology. My criticism is to his parents and those around him, who obviously felt they could not write this story without the pious language. This book, the story of their exceptional son’s short life, could have had so much more impact if written with a larger audience in view.