Wednesday, April 10, 2013

THE DANCE, by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

    Jim Anderson is stunned when he arrives home from work after a busy day and discovers his wife is missing. His shirts aren't ironed. Dinner isn't on the stove. How could she do this to him?
            After twenty-seven years of being Jim’s version of a perfect wife, Marilyn has had enough. She leaves Jim a note telling him not to contact her, then settles into an apartment with a girlfriend. Finally free to do what she wants for a change, Marilyn finds a job and fulfills a lifetime dream by signing up for dance lessons.
            As it turns out, Jim is the only one who's clueless about why she left. Their children are not surprised and tell him so. At this point in The Dance, I have to confess that Walsh did such a good job of portraying Jim as a jerk that I was hoping Marilyn would just run far away and leave him forever.
            However, the focus of this story is restoration. As the days of Marilyn's absence mount up, Jim slowly recognizes that he's to blame for the crumbling of his marriage, but has no idea what to do to win her back. How will he change a lifetime of putting himself first? And how can he expect to heal his marriage when Marilyn won't even talk to him?
            The Dance is the first in The Restoration series. Walsh and Smalley have written a remarkable novel that will impact readers as they take the journey of restoration along with the Andersons.
            The Dance is a skillfully told story. I give it two hearty thumbs up!

My thanks to the author and Revell for providing me with a review copy.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Shack, Part 2

At the end of February I posted a blog with my review of The Shack. Since then, it's been my privilege to hear the author, William P. Young, speak at an Oregon Christian Writers meeting. What a charming man, and what a story he has to tell.
For starters, he's never gone by the name "William." He's Paul Young to all who know him personally. He told of people telephoning him saying, "Paul, you've got to read this book The Shack!" not realizing he's the one who wrote it.
Young calls himself "A roadie for the Holy Spirit." He says, "Two years ago nobody cared what I had to say about anything, now I talk to thousands of people--and I'm as dumb as I was then!" He feels the best part of his new found celebrity is the chance to talk about Jesus to secular audiences. A week before he spoke to the Oregon Christian Writers, he was on "Good Morning America," and separately, given the keys to a city in Texas.
One of the things I enjoyed most about listening to Paul Young was his incredulity over his success. At one point he said he feels like he's on "The Truman Show," where everyone but him knows his life is a TV program. He kept interjecting, "How goofy is this?" when he'd tell another story about his changed life.
In 2005, he prayed this prayer: "Papa [those of you who've read The Shack know that's Mackenzie's name for the Father], I will never ask you again to bless anything I do. Do you have something you're blessing? I want to be around you and be part of anything you have for me."
He wrote The Shack for his children, and printed off fifteen copies at Kinko's. He senses God told him, "You give this to your kids; I'll give it to mine."
Young went on to tell us how the book grew from its Kinko's beginnings. Initially, he sent it to a friend simply to get some idea how to handle the e-mail he was receiving from strangers who had read the Kinko copies. His friend called in two writers that he knew, and working together they organized the story into a clearer format. Once they felt it was ready, they queried 26 publishers, 50% faith-based, and 50% general market. The faith-based publishers said The Shack was too edgy--there was no market for it. The general market publishers said it had "too much Jesus to be marketable."
More next time--no one wants to read blogs that go on and on. I'll tell you about his sales numbers, and some of the lessons he shared about God's unconditional love for his children.

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