A Texas retiree recounts the tale of his late-in-life religious awakening in this charming debut memoir.
Spatafora, a retired sanitation department manager, has a compelling Christian testimony and an engaging way of telling it. He writes that when he was about 49 years old, he decided to get serious about his “walk with God” and began to study the Bible. His grocery business was going under due to competition from discount chains, and he found himself unemployed and deeply in debt. He and his wife, Ann, began listening to television preachers, such as James Robison and Kenneth Copeland, which encouraged their faith. They began to apply the principles they learned, including prayer, and later, when they needed $700 to pay their bills, they received an unexpected gift from a former employee for that exact amount. Spatafora is a fine storyteller, and readers will enjoy his tales of his colorful friends, including Freddie, a vagrant with a penchant for theft whom the author once hired as a night watchman: “I knew the best way to catch a thief was to have a former one work for you,” Spatafora writes. Although the author often sounds like he’d be at home in a charismatic church, he writes of the fellowship he enjoyed in a Catholic community, which offered “praise and worship” and “more anointed music.” The book might have benefited from a stronger edit to catch occasional typographical errors, but readers will still find this a quick, entertaining read. Overall, the author seems like the sort of authentic, compassionate Christian who’d be surprised to find himself a role model; instead, he writes that his “story may be simple and childlike.” He also writes honestly of his sad times, such as the deaths of loved ones—a granddaughter from meningitis, a grandson from suicide—and although he was clearly heartbroken, he came through the losses with his faith intact. Even when he experienced medical challenges himself, including heart surgery, he refused to dwell on sickness, giving God credit for his healing and moving on.
An inspirational story that’s both wise and winsome.