book review – when will my life not suck?

When a review copy of Ramon Presson’s new book, “When will my life not suck?” appears in the mail, I have mixed feelings. I deeply appreciate New Growth Press, and I read nearly everything they publish. Ramon Presson intrigues me as a new author, but his book’s title really bothers me. It seems over the top—even rude—and the words “NOT SUCK” stick annoyingly in my mind. This tension between my admiration for New Growth and my aggravation over the title motivate me to read.

Ramon quickly demonstrates skill as a writer and an insightful observer. He draws from his years of experience as a Christian marriage and family therapist, and he reveals his own struggles with depression, anxiety, and despair. The book is accessible to a wide audience from young adults to seniors and believer or non believer. It is also brief (150 pages) and non technical so someone in the grip of suffering can summon the strength to read it.

This is not a self-help book, offering secret steps from depression to a happier life. Instead, Ramon writes out of his own weakness and models an increasing dependence on the gospel. Tracing Paul’s themes from his letter to the Philippians, Ramon addresses real life problems, asks perceptive questions, and shows readers a large God—the source of hope. For anyone in the midst of depression, anxiety, despair, or loneliness, “When will my life not suck?” is a companion through the journey. It wisely guides the depressed to hope, and it prepares the encouraged for depression.

“When will my life not suck?” is a blunt question. It makes us wince in discomfort because, if we are honest, it strikes too close to home. That’s why I am grateful Ramon Presson tackles the issue with serious reflection and Biblical hope. I recommend this book to anyone caught in depression, a friend of someone who is struggling, and church leaders who counsel the weary. It could easily be used for one-on-one discipleship or small group discussions. And the title is more than provocative—it is a perceptive lifeline to miserable sinners who need God.

Ramon Presson, When Will My Life Not Suck: Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2011)

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