Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

I'm always curious whenever Jim releases a new book.

Let's begin with the summary of his latest, which released today:
Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on—with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside—like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury—and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

And now, my review:

Jim's uses a bit of the sci-fi genre as a backdrop for exploring our spiritual lives. I spent a lot of the book asking, what is Jim trying to say?

The setup that the MC disappeared makes for a great story opening where he reappears in the lives of his loved ones. The emotions are palpable, though at times confusing as we try to make sense of the story world.

Once again, the author makes readers think, or perhaps rethink is the better wording. He explores dying to one's self and what that truly means. There are a few villains in this story, and they are formidable. I could relate with the hero's battles, and I believe readers will see themselves in the story to some degree. And the resolution will leave readers pondering. The final message is strong and clarifying.

The opening confused me. He's free, but he continues to battle his demons. The many questions I had at the beginning kept me reading, and the book read fast.

The main character regrets bullying his family. He himself was bullied as a child. The cycle continues. I think readers will find this believable and possibly relatable. I liked Quinn. He was a good ally. And the portrayal of his friendship with the MC was well-written.

Overall, I recommend this novel. It's "outside the box" as are Jim's other novels. And it'll get you thinking.

Note: There are several instances of "man" language in this novel, grouping both genders into male nouns, which isn't preferred.
I'm looking forward to book two and hoping since it's about a woman we'll see that less. I also noticed a lot of references to "black" as evil. I think we have to be careful of using black to equal evil. There's a subtle underlying message we should avoid, just like with the "man/men" language I mentioned above.

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