I really tried to like Average Joe by Troy Meeder, but I could never quite get there.
There are certainly parts of the book I enjoyed and found helpful. I actually loved his story about Jim “The Gardener” and how we are part of God’s tapestry of life.
I enjoyed reading about Troy’s varied adventures. He works to draw some meaning of out of each of them.
And that’s part of the problem. Sometimes, he tries too hard. For instance, I never once believed him when he painted a picture of being trapped in a hole filling with sewage. I’m sure he was in such a hole; but the story of panic was not credible – especially since he initially said the hole was 5-feet deep, but then goes on for pages sounding as though he believed he would die in the hole.
The bigger issue is that too much of the book is about Troy Meeder rather than about God. Don’t get me wrong; I fully believe Troy has a great relationship with God and has done some powerful things to minister to those around him – but Troy paints his life anything but an “average joe.” He’s a cowboy, a pilot, a missionary, a pastor, a horse whisperer, a scuba instructor, etc. The book is as much about Troy’s larger-then-life exploits as anything else, and that’s what disappointed me the most.
There are some good lessons in the book, but those same good lessons can be gleaned in many other places. The book didn’t really offer any especially helpful insights, other than that Troy Meeder sounds like one pretty incredible guy.
There is the obligatory study guide at the back of the book, but in the end, I can’t recommend this book for any sort of study group. If you feel like you want to read about Troy’s life and glean a few bits of wisdom, it’s a reasonable light read, but that’s about it.
Note, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.