I enjoyed this book as an introductory to studying the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and found the book easy to read and yet deeply meaningful. Murray Bodo uses the point of view of a narrator who can read Francis's thoughts and feelings, knows his desires, dreams, and relationships with God, fellow brothers, St. Clare, and Pope Innocent III. While Bodo makes history come to life using anecdotes, dialogue, poetry, metaphors, and vivid imagery, some of the book may be artistic license, but after reading other histories on Francis I think Bodo's portrayal is accurate and that Francis would have thought and acted in the way Bodo presents. It seems to me that the book is more geared toward providing spiritual growth by studying the life of St. Francis and revealing his human thoughts than a historical biography of him, and Bodo does a very good job in leading the reader to tackle some of the same questions that Francis had. The illustrations are beautiful; there are some black and white renderings of watercolor washes showing some of the important events in Francis' life interspersed throughout the book. My only qualms about the book are that sometimes the chronology is hard to follow, but maybe as a more careful reader I would not have had that problem. A map would have been nice, for much geography in the Assisi area is mentioned. Otherwise, I appreciated the book for its emphasis on having a dream, taking action and living it, and the power of prayer and love in one's life.
I must say that I enjoyed this book very much and so have
most of the people I have spoke with. It is a good poetic book with a lot of great insights into the heart and soul of Saint Francis. Bodo has a wonderful way of expressing the poetic heart of Francis through his own poetry. A must read for anyone interested in Saint Francis of Assisi.