Cross Roads – A Novel By William P. (Paul) Young – A Review by Bill Dahl
The ABOVE Cover Image for this book has not been finalized yet.
NOBODY…NOBODY can write about pain and the space between the unimaginable and unconscionable wounds inflicted during life on earth – and the reality of an ever-present loving, grace-filled, redemptive, triune God like Wm. (Paul ) Young. NOBODY…PERIOD!!!
On September 7, 2007 I wrote a review on Amazon – for a book entitled “The Shack – Where Tragedy Meets Eternity” — “an odd title,” I thought to myself – before I began reading. I had never met the author and had NOT requested a review galley. I read EVERY word on EVERY page. The story – from a character and plot development standpoint – was accretive….you couldn’t jump ahead or go to the conclusion. The story changed my life and introduced me to a dear man, William P. Young….along with a few dozen other folks. The book has sold over 18 million copies and is translated into a myriad of languages.
The author sent me the unpublished manuscript for his new novel Cross Roads – available on November 13, 2012 (Hachette Book Group New York, NY). I finished it in a day…well 8 hours of reading anyway…I savored this book!
I am required to be restrained here: Yes, I have the written authorization from the author to write this review. However, based upon the nature of Paul Young’s new novel Cross Roads, I have agreed to write this piece, without revealing either plot or character(s) – my suggestion – not his. Why?
Other than the obvious (release date is November 13, 2012 and the publisher desires a coordinated approach to pre-launch marketing) — Cross Roads, like The Shack, is a product of the uniquely imaginative mind of Wm. P. (Paul) Young. I have identified twelve, concrete things to share with prospective readers based upon these mutually agreeable guidelines. Here’s my take on Cross Roads:
- Paul Young is equipped with what my friend and colleague Ron Cole refers to as a “scandalous, redemptive imagination.” Translation: Paul Young has an ability to write stories that cause creative, tangible, redemptive impacts by virtue of his life experiences, way with words, magnificent mind and incredible imagination. Cross Roads, like The Shack, will cause another cascade of these types of unanticipated, distinctly positive outcomes for a diverse and broad audience. TRUST ME!
- Cross Roads is an incredible blessing. I’m afraid that Paul Young has “done it again.” Translation: This book will change readers, just like The Shack has. Cross Roads will be “a healing teaching of unimagined power” (1) for many, many people – just as The Shack continues to be. Your worth in God’s eyes will be revitalized.
- Cross Roads will BLOW YOUR SOCKS OFF!!! It’s infectious. Just like The Shack. You will want to buy a dozen editions of Cross Roads and pass them out to your friends, family, colleagues – and strangers looking bored or forlorn at your local coffee shop, daycare, park or shopping mall.
- In Cross Roads, God will come alive in new, positive, and exciting ways for the vast majority of readers…Again, just like The Shack has constructively impacted readers.
- Cross Roads will break your heart – while renewing hope, and rewiring unspoken beliefs about self, others, world and God which hamper your health in each and every day.
- Cross Roads will cause one to pause – and ponder the application of the lessons of this story to one’s life. Paul Young has an uncanny ability to write stories about where we live – inside the soul of most folks.
- Cross Roads will bridge a divide for many, many readers. As one author writes; “To be spiritual is to know/do the truth.”(2)
- Cross Roads will be a joy to read. Why? Because the story reflects the author. Paul Young is a guy who “has fun with ideas, moves them around, back and forth, turns them on their head, submits them to ironic reflection, tests them with his imagination and doesn’t get enamored with his own brilliance.(3)
- Cross Roads is a connector to what Diana Butler-Bass refers to as “a New Light Form of Faith” defined as those who wish to connect with people and ideas that are different, to explore the meaning of story and history, and to include as many people as possible in God’s embrace.”
- Cross Roads will present challenges for many readers as Paul Young does NOT disappoint. He, once again, displays an uncharacteristic, yet refreshing “verve, acumen, care for people and willingness to dance on the edge of tolerance.” (5)
- Cross Roads shall span the expanse between faith and belief. As Harvey Cox writes in The Future of Faith: “The wind of the Spirit is blowing. One indication is the upheaval that is shaking and renewing Christianity. Faith, rather than beliefs, is once again becoming its defining quality, and this reclaims what faith meant during its earliest years…All signs suggest we are poised to enter a new Age of the Spirit and that the future will be a future of faith.”(6)
- Cross Roads will diminish the distance between oneself and God. It will engender a frank, compassionate confession accompanied by a resolve for repentance on the part of readers. As Donald Miller has said, “The entire world is falling apart because nobody will admit they are wrong. But by asking God to forgive you, you are willing to own your own crap.”(7)
Cross Roads – A Novel by William P. Young. Available November 13, 2012.
As I wrote in my review of The Shack in September 2007, Cross Roads deserves the same words:
The Best Work of Fiction I Have Read in Years!
Well…since The Shack anyway.
BUY THIS BOOK!! Twelve of them.
You’re going to yearn to cross roads to share this gift with others.
(1) McLaren, Brian D. Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road – Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, Jericho Books – a division of the Hachette Book Group, Inc. New York, NY Copyright © 2012 by Brian D. McLaren.
(2) Sire, James W. Habits of the Mind – Intellectual Life As a Christian Calling, InterVarsity Press Downers Grove, IL Copyright © 2000 by James W. Sire, p. 11.
(3) Ibid. p.26 – Sire’s words – not mine – describing what he defines as a true intellectual.
(4) Butler-Bass, Diana Christianity After Religion – The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, Harper-One – An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, Copyright © 2012 by Diana Butler-Bass. P. 232.
(5) Kleiner, Art The Age of Heretics – A History of Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management, Second Edition – Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint San Francisco, CA Copyright © 2008 by Art Kleiner – Kleiner’s words describing Saul Alinsky. P.120.
(6) Cox, Harvey The Future of Faith HarperOne – An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers – New York, NY Copyright © 2009 by Harvey Cox, pp.223-4.
(7) Miller, Donald Blue Like Jazz – Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, TN Copyright © 2003 by Donald Miller. P. 53.