Tag: Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

#BestsellerCode100: A Reader’s Review of Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young Reviewers

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young is next up on our 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge.  Wm. Paul Young is also the author of the international bestseller The Shack and its sequel The Shack Revisited, all categorized as Christian fiction.

This post contains spoilers.

 

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Who Cares?

 I found Cross Roads to be incredibly difficult to read.  In the first chapter the reader is introduced to Anthony (Tony) Spencer, an extremely successful business man, but also an obnoxious and unlovable human being.  The author goes over the top in presenting Tony in the most unflattering light, to the point where, by the end of the chapter, when Tony suffers a brain aneurysm and is in a coma, you are 1) relieved to not have to deal with his obnoxiousness anymore and 2) you don’t care one iota what happens to him, either physically or spiritually.

The rest of the novel presents Tony in some altered state of existence spiritually, while his body is still in a coma.  In this altered state he is forced to come to terms with his past behaviors and given the chance to grow spiritually.  It all sounds well and good, but like I stated in the previous paragraph, I had ceased to care whether Tony grew spiritually.  I had ceased to care about Tony at all!

Possessed

Tony meets Jesus, “The Grandmother” (the Holy Spirit), and even God, albeit in an unconventional form, in this altered existence, and they send him back to earth to “inhabit” the bodies of various individuals as an opportunity to grow and learn and redeem himself.  This is the point where I almost gave up on the book.  Not only did he inhabit these bodies, but he could talk to the owners of these bodies and they could hear him and talk back to him, carrying on long conversations.  And then he could be passed to another body by a simple kiss. I felt like I was reading a science fiction or fantasy novel.

To Finish or Not To Finish?

I’ve made it a personal rule to never start reading the next book in our challenge until I’ve written the review for the previous book, and for the most part I’ve stuck to that rule.  Often I read at least one other book in between the books in our challenge as a way of “resetting” my reader’s brain, if you will.  I wanted to get ahead a bit in my reading, though, as I have a rather busy February, so I started reading The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz the very next day after finishing Cross Roads.  Wow.  What a difference!  Whereas I had to force myself to finish reading Cross Roads, I simply cannot put down The Darkest Evening of the Year.  The writing style is compelling, the characters are fascinating, and the plot reveals all come at just the right time.

Christian fiction is not my favorite genre or one I normally seek out, so that could explain some of my dislike of Cross Roads and my disbelief in the whole “altered state” and “habitation of souls” concepts that this novel relies so heavily on.  But more than that, I disliked the author’s writing style, his phrasing (choppy, strident, almost military in feel), and the way he obfuscated his message, talking in circles without really saying anything clearly.  I’d read an entire paragraph and not have a clue what the author really meant.

If you enjoy Christian fiction or stories of spiritual journeys, you might like Cross Roads.  From the number of stars the book has garnered on Amazon, it’s obvious that many people have enjoyed reading it.  From my perspective, it was a waste of my time.

 

Have you read Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Related posts:

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

You can also join us on social media:

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What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 67. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz (2007) – Discussion begins February 5, 2018 — Psychological thriller

#BestsellerCode100: Writer’s Discussion of Cross Roads and Beginning a Novel

Let’s briefly discuss how to create a good beginning for your novel using Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young.

This post does not contain spoilers.

 

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Tony Spencer does whatever it takes to be a success. When he falls into a coma, he has an experience that allows him to re-evaluate his past behavior. Will he act on his revelations?

Discussion

For the first time in the Bestseller Code 100 challenge, I’m afraid this novel was a DNF — did not finish — for me. For my review I’m going to concentrate on a message I got from a recent SCBWI workshop about how to begin your novel.

Many writing courses suggest capturing a reader’s attention with a big hook in the beginning.  There are some great examples of novels that are able to do this, like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

“Where’s Papa going with that axe?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

Talk about grabbing your attention!

At the workshop, Abigail Samoun offered slightly different advice. She said to treat the introduction of your book like you are welcoming the reader into the door of your house. She used a beautiful example of how J. R. R. Tolkien started The Hobbit:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

She said this first sentence said to the reader, “Come on in, sit down and I’ll tell you a story.”

Other books might use introductions that tease, “Hey, check this out” or “Wait to you see this.” Anything to quickly usher them (the reader/guest) inside.

Once readers have entered, she suggested introducing “yourself” (your main character) right away and giving them a hint of what to expect. Particularly, you want to make them comfortable and eager to stay. I won’t go into all the details, but I really liked the analogy and thought it was something I’d consider for any story opening I write.

The Dilemma

The author had a dilemma in the first part of Cross Roads. He wanted to establish Tony as someone who was an awful person and needed redemption. By making Tony so extremely unlikable, however, the author essentially slammed the door in the reader’s face. Once I learned Tony had re-married his wife just so he could divorce her, I didn’t want to read any further. This was not a character I wanted to spend time with for one more minute, no matter what happened later.

If the author had started a bit earlier in Tony’s life, it would have been better. For example, if he had started the novel at the time when Tony’s parents died, the reader would feel sympathy for him and want to know what happened to Tony. Or, he could have used the age old trick of having Tony be nice to a dog or a child. Anything to allow the reader to root for him a little bit and want to keep reading.

Abigail Samoun gave some good advice. Be a good host to your reader and they will stay with you.

Have you ever read a book that shut you out or made you leave after only a few pages? What books have you not finished?

 

Join us on social media:

__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 67. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz (2007) – Discussion begins February 5, 2018 — Psychological thriller

#BestsellerCode100: Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

Time to start the discussion of our next novel from The Bestseller Code 100 listCross Roads by Wm. Paul Young.

This post does not contain spoilers.

 

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: Tony Spencer does whatever it takes to be a success. When he falls into a coma, he has an experience that allows him to re-evaluate his past behavior. Will he act on his revelations?

Cross Roads is considered to be Christian fiction. From the back, quote from Chapter 6:

Jesus reached over and took Tony’s hand. “On this journey, you can choose to physically heal one person, but only one, and when you make that selection, your journey will end.”

 

Have you read Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Related posts:

  1. Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
  2. Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
  3. Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective

You can also join us on social media:

Do you have suggestions for ways to improve this reading challenge? We’d love to hear them.

Have you written about Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young? Feel free to add a link to your review in the comments.
__________________

What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 67. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz (2007) – Discussion begins February 5, 2018 — Psychological thriller

#BookBeginnings Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

Today we should be starting the next novel in The Bestseller Code 100 challengeCross Roads by Wm. Paul Young for Book Beginnings on Fridays.  (We’re both still reading The Goldfinch).

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-button-hurwitz

Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Tony Spencer does whatever it takes to be a success. When he falls into a coma, he has an experience that allows him to re-evaluate his past behavior. Will he act on his revelations?

Cross Roads is considered to be Christian fiction. From the back, quote from Chapter 6:

Jesus reached over and took Tony’s hand. “On this journey, you can choose to physically heal one person, but only one, and when you make that selection, your journey will end.”

First Sentence:

Some years in Portland, Oregon, winter is a bully, spitting sleet and spewing snow in fits and starts as it violently wrestles days from spring, claiming some archaic right to remain king of the seasons — ultimately the vain attempt of another pretender.

Discussion:

I like the alliteration of splitting sleet and spewing snow. I was a bit confused about the last part.

It continues:

This year was not like that. Winter simply bowed out like a beaten woman, leaving head down in tattered garments of dirty whites and browns with barely a whimper or promise of return. The difference between her presence and absence was scarcely discernible.

The Bestseller Code Challenge is definitely introducing us to a wide diversity of books. This is so different from The Goldfinch. It will be interesting to compare the two novels to see how they both ended up on the same list.

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