23rd Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition - judges commentary

Nick Dennen’s 23: I Love You, Too, truly qualifies as an inspirational book. His incredible journey to health after a devastating accident is remarkable. The story is told from several perspectives. Dennen’s parents provide details, and the author adds the bits and pieces he remembers. His writing style is direct, never melancholy or dark, even though circumstances could warrant it. His Christian faith is evident throughout, but the tome is never preachy.

Dennen’s message, ultimately is love. Love unconditionally. I particularly liked the inclusion of Dr. Kent M. Keith’s Paradoxical Commandments., which were humorous and insightful. The author has taken the commandments to heart. What is so compelling about Dennen’s story is that he accepts the consequences of his injuries by degree—which is so honest and refreshing. There are many moments of self-doubt and self-pity. He allows the reader to see this, and then see his emotional journey to the next plateau of healing. We see his entire healing journey, not only the painful physical one, but the even more difficult, perhaps more painful, emotional and spiritual one.

Throughout the book, Dennen offers quotes from prominent thought and spiritual leaders like Marianne Williamson and Mitch Albom, Dr Seuss and the Holy Bible are also quoted. Finally, Dennen offers 23 Rules for Life, all clearly based on wisdom and his experiences, and all worthy of consideration.


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