Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Rooms by James L. Rubart


ABOUT THE BOOK (From Amazon):

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.


MY REVIEW:

Micah Taylor has it all (in the eyes of the world) - he's an entrepreneur in the software industry, a millionaire living in a penthouse apartment in Seattle, dating his business partner.  His mother died when he was young and he has a rocky relationship with his father, but he inherits a beach house from a deceased uncle he barely knew. Although he plans to sell the beach house, Micah spends some time there and begins having very strange experiences, including the discovery of new rooms that weren't there before, an unfinished painting that becomes more complete each time he sees it and a stack of letters written to him years ago by his uncle. When Micah returns to Seattle, things get even stranger as he runs into people who don't remember meeting him and his apartment changes floors. In the end Micah must choose between his extravagant penthouse lifestyle or his relationship with God.

Micah's shifting realities became a little bit too much to try to keep straight, but I also had concerns about some of the themes in the book:

  1. Personally, I feel like it's too easy to use a rich, successful person as an example of someone who has "lost their focus on God" because very few of us are millionaires living in penthouse apartments (right?).  And because most of us can't really relate with the main character in that way, some of the message gets lost. I also feel there was a theme here that if you trust in God and give up all of your money and success, your life will be perfect (SPOILER ALERT: you'll get to keep a 9,000 sq. ft. beach house, do the work that you love and still get the girl!).   
  2. As soon as Micah went back to Seattle and back to work he didn't feel God's presence any more.  I'm not sure what message Rubart was trying to convey here - that if you are a dedicated business person, you cannot also have faith in God?  I strongly disagree with this message. God uses people in all different fields and calls people for different purposes.

My high school youth pastor recommended this book to me about a year ago.  It happened to be free in the Kindle store for a short period of time and I was able to snag a copy, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I have to be honest, it took me almost an entire year to read - not because it's that long, but because I would get bored and read other books for awhile in between chapters.  Overall the storyline is okay, but I just found it to be lacking in suspense and some of the detail necessary to get the point across.  If you really like Christian fiction, though, you would probably enjoy this book more than me.