There were many reasons for me not to read this book. I was told I would cry while reading it. Psh. I also have a pretty high bar for what I consider to be good writing, and after skimming the first 3 pages of this book, I wasn't sold. Also, being a diligent researcher, I looked the book up on Amazon and read the reviews. Eh, mixed. The consensus, however, was that the last third of the book was worth waiting for. This is also what was told to me by the person who recommended the book. So, even while in middle of reading another book, and because I needed a major distraction with an easy read, I decided to take a stab.
Me, Myself & Bob is a memoir written by Phil Vischer. If you don't know who he is, you might've heard about his company, Big Idea. If that doesn't ring a bell, Bob the Tomato probably would. If that doesn't cut it, you should come out of the hole you've been living in and take a shower or something. When I say "his company," I really should say, "ex-company" since he is no longer the CEO of Big Idea, the workings behind things like VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, and the Larryboy shows (the latter are lesser-known.) He now runs Jellyfish Labs (there's a really good reason behind that silly-sounding name. You get there at the end of the book.)
The first two-thirds of the book outlines the massive success of his company and the massive failure it became. I was pretty surprised--and impressed--by getting an insider's look (and take) on the world of animation at that time. The show was pretty impressive and I'll probably never look at another episode the same way. Vischer then outlines the agonizing process through which his dream was taken from his hands. He candidly shares his experiences and talks about instances where it seemed that God could've intervened to save the company, but didn't. He shares those times when prayer, good intentions, ministry, and talent couldn't save a company, or a dream, from dying.
The last third of the book really is worth getting to. Especially if you've ever struggled with losing something--a dream... whether it be your dream job, your dream relationship, your dream ministry event. Especially if the dream explodes into a fantastic fireworks show that was completely and unnecessarily horrendous and hurtful to everyone and left you spiritually reeling not unlike a boxing knockout. ...Can you tell this was personal? I found myself nodding and realizing familiar territory, while at the same time being re-challenged and reawakened at the realization that I am not alone in this, and that God really, really does change lives.
With all that said, the book is not without its faults. The prize at the bottom of the cereal box take a little bit of mucking. Vischer's style (he not only wrote most of VeggieTales' initial scripts, but was the voice of Bob the Tomato) is kind of like what you would expect from someone who wrote most of VeggieTales' scripts and was the voice of Bob the Tomato. He's a little scattered, not the best writer, and a little (ok, a lot) rambly. I suspect his editors gave up on trying to shut out his hopelessly cartoonish style of thinking (and speaking, and writing.) To be fair, I got used to it after chapter... fifteen, and it became a bit like a friend yammering about his life. I just sat back and listened (I tried to find this on audiobook, but it's not there.) And then you get a shot in the face by chapter twenty-one. Even the latter chapters wasn't the powerhouse I was expecting. Once I got there, I was starting to get a little nervous: is this what they were telling me to wait for? Uh-oh. But man. It pays off. If anything, it's the story of success from ashes: seeing redemption work from beginning to brutal end to glorious rebirth.
Bottom line: Even if you've never experienced bewilderment at God dashing your most earnest of intentions, even if you've never had a dream of changing the world through ministry, even if you've worked it all out and are right with God... there's a lot this book has to offer. I don't particularly believe that his story must be our story, and that his experiences are templates that are applicable to others. But it's a story about how one man handled his grapplings with God, and as for me, his voice was something my soul was familiar with. Maybe it'll be the same for you. And ok, if you promise not to tell anyone, I did it. I cried.