The Tank Man’s Son is a basic biography of Mark Bouman, the author. It recounts the days of a fractured family life, abuse, and the search for identity. I was intrigued to read it because I thought I might be able to identify with the author through his experiences and what God may have taught him through it, having gone through similar experiences myself.
I read this book over the summer, and I’ve been so unmotivated by it that I am just now able to sit and write a review. I simply could not think of what to say about the book until now.
The author spends so much time on these experiences that, while at first I completely understood his experiences as similar to my own growing up, by the middle third of the book I had to put it down and read an engaging book with a running story before I could pick this one up again.
While this is marketed partly to a Christian audience, I found it very lacking in that regard. When 95% of the book is a daily redundancy of dealing with situations, only the couple chapters finally came to the conclusion that the author used his life experience to prepare his heart for reaching out to others and having an impact for the Kingdom.
However, I still found his spiritual basis lacking in a demonstration and understanding of spiritual growth. For instance, he finally ended up working as a missionary in SE Asia, and during one episode of turmoil when he was trying to re-enter the country of Cambodia, he wondered something so simple as, “I glanced back at the crowd still surrounding the adjacent counter, wondering by what miracle I got a seat while others were being turned away.”
This, to me, is an extremely low-level of understanding of a sovereign God – or at least a low-level of communicating the works of God. Instead of portraying the abundant life, purpose and works of the Lord, he pondered the situation from a humanistic perspective. It would’ve been a prime time to present a focus on the abundant blessings God provides but instead he leaves us with a sense of confusion and unbelief.
In Christian works, unbelief should always point to the God that we have faith in and the amazing work He does to ensure His purposes stand.
I would not consider this a Christian book at all, even with the mention of God, the Bible, and mission work. It’s purely an existential work with an ending moderately reflecting some kind of spiritual influence rather than a truly & authentically changed spirit and heart. It was like he threw in the mention of God as an afterthought rather than the crux of God’s glory lived out.
I don’t recommend this book; there is simply very little movement through the storyline and a lack of thinking beyond oneself.
While I understand the use of the language within the text, I had hope that the book would consist half of his story growing up and a second half of how God changed him, pointing to the redeeming work of God and restoration that can happen thereafter. Instead, it was 95% of a story lacking a point and 5% of a spiritual influence tagged onto the end to close it in some way.
I have received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.