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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

I am embarrassed to admit that before a few weeks ago, I had no idea what the story of Ben-Hur was about. I had heard of the book and even of the previous movies that were made and I knew that there was a chariot race but not much else. When I was a young boy I remember seeing an old blue book with the title of Ben-Hur sitting on a shelf in my parents front room. I have always been a slow reader and so even though the sight of the book always seemed to catch my attention, it was also at the same time very intimidating to me. I never did pick up the book to read.

Then, just a few weeks ago before Christmas, as a family we watched the newest version of the Ben-Hur movie (2016). It was then that I learned that the real title of the book was Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and so one of my daughters bought me the adapted version by Carol Wallace, the great-great-granddaughter to the original author, Lew Wallace. I really enjoyed the movie but the book was so much better for me. I am still a slow reader but I have learned to overcome that weakness through patience with myself and perseverance. Normally it would take me a couple weeks or more to read a book the size of Ben-Hur but it took me only 5 days to read the book. My daughter who gave me the book for Christmas would have read it in a day or two. She has the book now.

What added to my experience in discovering Ben-Hur was that one evening just before New Year’s, we went to my parents house for a visit. While we were there I told my mom and dad of my memory of the old blue Ben-Hur book that sat on their shelf in the front room. I then tried to find the book in one of their other rooms but could not. I did however find several books from the Trixie Belden series that I read as a young boy and I brought those home for my younger children to read but that is another story. In spite of leaving without the old blue book, I did leave my parents house that night excited that I was able to share a memory with them.

Then, as I was driving home with my family that night, my dad called. He went down into their basement and started looking through a closet that was filled with many different items that they had collected over the years and after going through the entire closet, he found an old blue book. I now hold in my hand that copy of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and I look forward to reading the version found in that old blue book. I expect the story to be the same but I look forward to reading in the older language and the more detailed description that the original version was known for.

After reading a little more about the life of Lew Wallace, I am even more grateful for his inspired story as it has added value to my life.