Sheriff deputies Adam, Shane, Nathan, and David are all fathers struggling to face up to their responsibilities. Adam worships his little daughter but neglects his fifteen-year-old son, Shane is divorced and trying to connect with his boy. Nathan grew up fatherless and wants to give his children a better life, but his daughter’s heart is being stolen by a boy at school, while David is haunted by secrets from his past that he wants to forget. Used to risking their lives for others every day at work, they can’t seem to find the courage to do what’s right when they get home each night.
Javier, on the other hand, is a simple, hardworking Hispanic who loves his wife and children with all his heart and strives to be as good a father as his father was before him. These five men struggle along just trying to help their families survive -- until a tragedy wakes them all up to the real courage and dedication it takes to be a father.
A novelization of the box office hit film, Courageous is a book that will make you smile, cry, and inspire readers everywhere to be strong and courageous.
Randy Alcorn takes the Kendrick brothers’ screenplay and expands it into a novel full of subtle nuances and new and interesting subplots. The characters and events are developed further, plotlines and characters are added, and characters from the Kendricks’ other films are tied into the story in very fun and unexpected ways. Some events are fleshed out to add new and deeper meaning, and the Christian messages are enhanced and made stronger.
Everything from the film is in the book, exactly as portrayed on the screen, but so much more has been added it’s almost like a new story -- without conflicting with any of the original material. We gain lots of new insights into David’s character, Adam’s growth and his relationship with his son are portrayed more gradually and fully, and we learn more about the character of Derrick, his family and his past, just to scratch the surface. Despite having seen the film twice, I was surprised multiple times while reading.
Some of the new content makes the book a bit less child-friendly than the film, though not excessively so. The drug content is significantly greater, while there are a few mild and tastefully handled sexual references, including a subplot involving artificial insemination. Abortion is mentioned as part of one subplot, and the violence and gang activity are a bit stronger than in the film. Still, everything was delicately handled and appropriate for a mature reader, in my opinion.
The Christianity is well handled and even stronger than in the film, and usually does a good job about not being heavy-handed, though there are one or two scenes that come across as mildly “preachy.” Overall though, it is well done.
The writing is fairly good. There is some on-the-nose dialogue, and some plot points or subplots that fall a bit flat. There’s some telling instead of showing in places, but none of it was strong enough to pull me out of the story -- just strong enough to keep it from making the book a favorite. In some parts the writing really shines, earning my admiration. Overall, I am impressed with how well Randy Alcorn was able to expand the story and do it justice.
Courageous is definitely worth reading, whether or not one has seen the film. It will challenge your faith, touch your emotions, and leave you wanting to excel in godliness, faithfulness, and true bravery. I praise God for the success of this book -- I believe that it, like the film, can help our country become a better place by showing fathers the need to step up and be men of courage.