Cross Roads A Review

Usually, I highlight a work of nonfiction meant to guide us in our relationship with God, This month I would like to offer a novel to do the same. In a story, more can be said about life and faith than in nonfiction. We see what happens when we face both good and bad things. Stories are powerful and concrete examples of life and all it offers. If we were to see fiction as more than entertainment, we could use it to help us live the life we all want to.

Cross Roads, the second book by author William Paul Young released in November 2012 centers on a self-centered businessman who discovers another world after suffering a sudden brain ailment rendering him comatose. Young has remarked that he began writing Cross Roads as a way to “delve deeper into the human soul” after his book The Shack and to explore the themes of transformation and community

Cross Roads follows Tony Spencer, an egotistical businessman that went from being a poor foster child to a successful businessman who must win at any cost. This ruthless outlook has affected his life prompting him to re-marry an ex-wife only so he could be the one to leave her the second time around and to ignore his daughter in favor of mourning the son that died at a very young age. His hollow existence forever changes when Tony ends up in a coma due to a cerebral hemorrhage from head trauma and brain tumor. He awakens in a strange Purgatory-like-state where he is brought face-to-face with God (who appears to Tony as young, raven-haired, olive-skinned girl), Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (who has the appearance of a Lakota Indian), who sends him back to earth to go over the actions he made before going comatose. He is informed that he will have to ability to heal one person and only one person. He can heal himself, an Alzheimer’s sufferer, or a young leukemia patient. Tony initially assumes that he is merely stuck within his subconscious goes along with the mission merely to humor the vision. However, once he is back on earth he discovers that he is seeing the world through the eyes of several different people, but mainly African-American nurse Maggie Saunders. As he’s transferred from person to person, the sights that Tony witnesses are both beautiful and cruel in turn, making him question who he has become and what the impact of his past choices might be.

The story is one of community, transformation, relationships, beauty, regrets, and love. The reader will gain a glimpse of both God and eternity. It also speaks of how best to deal with suffering. The overarching theme is community. Life is not a solitary event or a spectator sport. Life is communal and participatory.

The reader of The Shack will find as many have proclaimed and I heartily agree Cross Roads is a better book. This book would make an excellent Easter gift and a great springtime read. I hope this selection will help you deepen your relationship with God.

Until next time, keep reading.

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