Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mud, Sweat and Tears


When many people think of survival shows, the first one that comes to their mind is Man vs. Wild starring Bear Grylls. Now fans can get up close and personal with Grylls in his new autobiography, Mud, Sweat, and Tears.

Right from the get-go, the book starts off with a near death experience as Grylls is climbing one of the Rockies right here in BC. Well written and thrilling, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and anxiously turning the pages. Even though you know that he is going to survive and make it (he is writing the book after all), it is still tense and you can't help but be amazed at how he is able to survive things that he had no business surviving.

The book isn't all action adventure however. The first few chapters, after it allows you to take a breath from his near death experience, Grylls talks about his grandfather and his father. His grandfather is built up as a legendary figure, and even if some of the stories are exaggerated or embellished, it can't be denied that he was a great man. Flawed, yes (Grylls doesn't deny that), but still a great man and a wonderful role model.

For me, the most interesting part of the book was when Grylls started talking about his childhood school days. He went to an all boys' private school, and he got into a lot of interesting situations (some wholesome, some not as much). He never ignores the mistakes he makes, and he 'fesses up to a lot of things that many other guys would just sweep under the rug. His honesty is refreshing and encouraging.

One thing that he makes perfectly clear, numerous times throughout the book, is his faith in Christ. In one chapter he lays out simply, and yet not aggressively, what being a Christian is and how it can change your life. This theme is constant through the book, and he isn't shy to thank God for protection or question where God was in certain situations. A nice reminder that God is with us everywhere, whether we are in an office, or climbing Mount Everest. 

Most of the book is divided into two sections: Grylls going through intense military training, and his attempt to climb Everest. It's exhausting just reading about some of the things he had to do in training, and me, being asthmatic, I almost had to reach for my puffer a few times just imagining myself doing what he does. It's not easy, and he never claims it to be. He expresses the desire to quit a few times, but he continues to get up and continue, even when his mind, body and spirit are screaming out in pain. A great lesson in not giving up, and how if you put your mind to something, and have faith in God, you can achieve far more than you ever thought possible.

I will mention, as a bit of a disclaimer, that there is a little bit of language in this book. It's not overwhelming, and most of the time he is able to avoid using certain words, but there is an instance or two of swearing. Not to discourage people from reading the book, as the story and overall content is incredible. It's just good that those who want to read it are aware of the content. 

This book is a great read for men and fathers. He is a loving dad and husband, and he can be a great inspiration to fathers and husbands. It's not only for men however, as any adventure seeking woman would love this book as well. It's action packed, has some humour and a bit of romance, and you can't deny his love for God, his wife, and his children. Anyone who enjoys a little bit of action and adrenaline should read this book.


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