Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review: Almost Heaven

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry. 2010. Tyndale. 400 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

Almost Heaven is an amazing novel. It is beautifully written: raw and emotional with a very true feel to it. The characterization was great. Fabry has created characters that readers can connect to. Billy Allman, the hero, is someone almost impossible not to love. He's more humble and behind-the-scenes than most heroes you find. He has endured a lot; persevered might be an even better word choice. What I loved most about Allman was his hope and his joy. Here is a man who has endured so much, witnessed and experienced too much, yet, no one can rob him of his faith and his HOPE in Christ. He's inspiring, I won't lie. But it's the very fact that he's not perfect, that he's flawed, that makes his story mean so much more. There are great themes in this one. And the writing, at times, is just amazing. I think it's one of those great "big-picture" novels where readers get to see God working all things together for good.

Favorite quotes:
I believe every life has hidden songs that hang by twin threads of music and memory. I believe in the songs that have never been played for another soul. I believe they run between the rocks and along the creekbeds of our lives. These are songs that cannot be heard by anything but the soul. They sometimes run dry or spill over the banks until we find ourselves wading through them. My life has been filled with my share of dirges and plainsongs. I would sing jaunty melodies of cotton candy and ice cream if I could, a top-40 three-minute-and-twenty-second tune, but the songs that have been given to me are played in A minor and are plagued with pauses and riffs that have no clear resolution. I ache for some major chord, a tonal shift that brings musical contentment. I do not know if I will find that.
He put his hand on my neck and held it there. “You see all the beauty out there?” When I nodded, he said, “That’s nothing compared to the beauty of a heart that wants to know God and follow him. And you have that kind of heart, Billy. I know you do. So don’t you let anything or anyone take that from you. You understand?” I nodded, but I didn’t understand.
There was a man of God I listened to every day on the radio, and after I lost my job, I got to hear him twice each day. His voice was like a bullhorn to my soul because even when he just read the Bible, it felt like my heart stirred. And when he told stories and sprinkled in his understanding and wisdom, it was like he had a pipeline right into heaven. I named my dog Rogers because of him.
You want people to have a relationship with God, but something’s holding you back from connecting with people. You know, in the real world. What are you afraid of?” “I don’t know,” I said.
I took her hands in both of mine. “Darlin’, what happened in those woods does not define the rest of your life. People might look at you and say, ‘There’s that woman that was taken to the cabin in Kentucky.’ But God doesn’t look at you that way. He says, ‘There’s my daughter. There’s my spotless bride that my Son died for.’ What happened out there does not have to follow you.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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