3 out of 4 stars
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The road of life is far from a straight line. While it weaves and meanders toward its final destination, an observant person can pick up life lessons all along the way.
A Twenty-Five-Cent Investment by Hartley S. Connett is a brief memoir (it's less than 50 pages long) focusing on the author's spiritual ups and downs. The book is broken into nine chapters, with each focusing on a particular moment in the author's spiritual life.
Now, I can understand why it may sound like I'm talking about the wrong book. After all, monetary investment isn't typically a part of faith, and an investor would probably be laughed at if they only had a quarter to invest. But a quarter was all it took to start Hartley on his way to discovering God.
The book kicks off with the titular twenty-five-cent investment, as Hartley truly notices a church he regularly passes for the first time. In 1944, when Hartley was only ten years old, his family received a telegram that stated his older brother, Harold, was missing in action. Suddenly, that church seemed to call out to him, and he found himself walking in and putting a quarter in the collection bowl. Later that day, he returned to the church and noticed the quarter was gone, leading him to believe that God had taken it. This small moment in his life led to a lifetime of faith.
What surprised me the most about A Twenty-Five-Cent Investment was the variety. At first, it seemed that the author was pointing out moments when he found solace in his newfound faith, but there's so much more to it. The author relates lessons from his business endeavors, his learning about and growing in Christianity, and even a miraculous near-death experience. After all, as Hartley wrote: "Some of the stories are extraordinary, but then, isn't God?"
Aside from the variety, I loved the author's sense of awe. Even though Hartley is over eighty years old, he describes his walk with God in such an elated, exciting, awesome way. Exclamations like "What a sight!" and "Wow!" can be found here and there, and his descriptions of the various sights and smells of a church are powerful as well. It's hard not to feel that same awe while reading the book.
Unfortunately, just like Hartley's journey, the book has some negatives along with its positives. While I only found a few grammatical errors, there was one bit that left me a bit confused, and I found myself making frequent trips to Bing to look up various terms like "thurifer," "crucifer," and "censer." Also, because the book is so short, I always wanted a little bit more. Leaving readers craving more isn't a terrible thing, mind you, but A Twenty-Five-Cent Investment felt a bit more like an appetizer than a meal.
With that said, I can't help but declare the book a success in two aspects: revealing some of the author's biggest moments with God and encouraging readers to find their own faith. I'd give the book 3.5 stars if I could, but I'll have to settle for rounding down to 3 out of 4 stars. I'd still highly recommend it to Christians and people who are interested in memoirs about faith, as well as people struggling with their own faith.
A Twenty Five Cent Investment
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