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flashBANG: How I Got Over Myself 
Arthur: Mark Steele
Publisher: Relevant Books

flashBANG:  How I Got Over Myself  is bi- polar.  As a piece of true literature, it is medicore.  As a  collection of anecdotes with the ability to entertain and impact,  Flashbang is a worthwhile investment of both time and dollars.

To consider Flashbang's theme as "how to get over oneself" is overly simplistic.  Using stories from his career and personal life as illustrations, Mark Steele explores how he learned to live a life for other people as opposed to himself.  With remarkable candor, Steele explains how he learned that to live a life for God is to live for other people.  That to truly love other people is to leave emotional 'craters' of impact where one life touches another instead of  'flashbangs':  lots of noise and fireworks but ultimately leaving behind nothing of worth.

And Steele does so with laugh-out-loud stories about parakeets flying into spaghetti sauce, inane macho party games, selling cosmetics door- to-door as a kid, and nearly dying (Twice.  Yes, it's funny.)  He's vulnerable, candid and self-depreceating without being angry toward  himself or past mistakes.  So successfully does Steele capture the reader's attention that a unique relationship develops between author and reader, one of trust.  And only when that trust is built does Steele reveal the purpose in the pages.

The narrative does struggle every so often.  It's easy to momentarily lose track of where you are or forget why, exactly, Steele is telling a particular story.  Again, Flashbang is not a great piece of 'literature,' but Mark Steele's likable personality, quirky storytelling and genuinely funny sense of humor well make up the weaknesses.  Flashbang's many pop culture references and language ensure that is easily accessible and pertinent to the post-modern twenty-something.  Fortunately, Relevant Books is directed towards  the same audience.

' is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury /  Signifying nothing."  The humor and zany anecdotes will hook you.  The shocking ending will leave a crater.  And God...God will very  likely speak.  Recommended.

Ryan Ro



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