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A Review of Bill Kassel’s My Brother’s Keeper

I have known Bill Kassel for about 10 years. He has been a big help to me in my publishing and writing efforts. The one thing everyone needs to know about Bill is that when he decides to take on a project, it is going to be done right. Besides being an accomplished writer, Bill is a top notch musician and was spotted as such at a very early age. You get the point Bill knows what he is doing.

In his latest quest for a lofty project, Bill didn’t decide to tackle the Iliad or the Odyssey but in a way he tried to tackle the faith based version of a tremendous struggle and journey. Bill’s latest book is entitled; My Brother’s Keeper which is a somewhat fictional account of the early life of the Holy Family.

Bill must have spent endless hours reading through early Christian history, non-Canonical writings and apocryphal statements about the Holy Family which have nearly been lost in the mists of history. In addition, he also sought the advice of noted Catholic, Evangelical and Jewish scholars. What we are left with his a very serious three part work on the life the Holy Family might have lived, since the Gospels only give us a hint of what life must have been like for Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Think about it, you are reading the e-version (soon to be released print version) of a 500+ page intensely researched book. This serious work technically isn’t a historical or fictional account. It lies somewhere in the middle, since it is well researched. My Brother’s Keeper tells the story of the Holy Family that includes not only Christian figures like the Apostles, but key Jewish contemporary 1st century AD scholars like Hillel and Gamaliel whose influence continues today.

As mentioned earlier, Bill doesn’t do anything easy or pay attention to sales and demographic figures. Many of you are probably aware that the book publishing industry is in a state of near disarray. Like the music industry, the book world has never quite wrapped it’s arms around the digital impact on the business.  Whereas once Evangelical bookstores were the envy of Catholic bookstores owners, Evangelicals now almost wish they had the Catholic sacramental sales to help them through a very tough stretch now that there is no Purpose Driven Life or Prayer of Jabez to help with their sales. It isn’t easy to be a book retailer these days, let alone a faith based retailer.

Bill Kassel has decided that he wants this work to stand on its own despite the fact that this clearly doesn’t fit into the category of the nearly non-existent Catholic fiction section or the Early Church section found in most books stores or online, again hardly a big seller topic, but a topic that needs to be addressed. This book is designed to make you think and seriously ponder the daily grind that was life in Nazareth in Roman occupied Israel. Bill points out the daily struggle for the essentials of life and the close family bonds. Needless to say, James is a principal character in My Brother’s Keeper.

Bill brings to life the many thoughts that must have been racing through the minds of those who knew Jesus and his family as word spreads concerning his ministry and miracles. In every family there exists someone who is definitely a little different, someone who says or believes things others dare not say or perhaps never pondered. It is quite another when something that person said actually comes true and miracles are performed. What must have been the word on the street or village and what must those who were close to Jesus and his family thought? Bill Kassel takes you there. Take a step back in time and imagine how you would have thought had you lived in Israel some 2,000 years ago dealing with the harsh reality of daily life in the cruel world of the Roman occupied Middle East. When you heard stories of Jesus of Nazareth would you have been a believer? Bill Kassel is willing to help you find out.