Clutched in the Talons
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Clutched in the Talons
Author: Darryl Derstine
Major Themes: Lust, Temptations
Synopsis: Three stories attempt to encourage young people to live for Jesus.
It’s very rare that I am as disappointed with a book as I was with Clutched in the Talons. It’s even more rare that I throw a book away. And this is the first time this has ever happened with a book from this publisher. It’s not that the book is evil; the author was trying to warn young men of dangers they would be facing. The writing style is very good; the stories are gripping. My concern is in exactly what a young man will take away from the book.
The first story shows a young man sneaking to the local convenience store to buy a magazine he knows he shouldn’t. Then, he heads home with it, looking at it on the way. At the same time, a locomotive driver is reading the same magazine, and the results are deadly. Woven through this story is the account of a mouse lusting for an ear of corn out in the open, with a falcon hunting overhead.
The second story features a man who prides himself on being ultra-conservative and holding to the regulations of the church perfectly. He required his family to be so perfect that when he found his son secretly taking flying lessons, he gave him an ultimatum, and his son chose flying. Now, the son is doing a fly-in at the local airport. At the same time, another young man is out flying for fun and decides to crash the fly-in and try to get attention for himself.
The third story is about two young people who make the right decisions and are blessed for it. I appreciated this story, although it turned out almost too perfectly to be realistic.
My concern with this book is that young men, instead of reading and taking to heart the warnings given, will remember the description of how the two men in the first story enjoyed their illicit pleasure. As the young flyer in the second story said after his teacher told him not to buzz someone’s house or go river running, “Why, the geezer was a veritable encyclopedia of good ideas.” We are told, in one of Paul’s epistles, not to take pleasure in those who do wicked things. I believe that many young men, in reading this book, will take pleasure in the accounts of men who were doing wicked things, and remember that pleasure. They will be tempted to do the same thing, rather than picking up on and taking to heart the warning. I had hoped that this book would be an encouragement to my teenage sons to keep their lives pure, but instead I plan to throw it away. As I said, this is the first time I have ever found a book I didn’t agree with to this extent from this publisher; it was rather a shock.