What you should know:
William Paul Young is the author of The Shack, which I’ve never written a review about. If you are not familiar with that book you can read about it here
or you can read about the movie based on the book here
Cross Roads is a very different book from The Shack in several ways. Both books do have similar themes however. Cross Roads is a novel that engages in a philosophical debate about personal beliefs, eternity, the nature of God, and the ideas of freedom, redemption, and forgiveness. One of the similar themes between Cross Roads and The Shack is grief and the idea of being angry at God for the loss of a family member. Cross Roads addresses this theme from a different point of view than The Shack does.
I think The Shack approaches the subject on the level of sovereignty and judgement. While Cross Roads approaches it from the perspective of the fear of pain and suffering. One theme that separates Cross Roads from The Shack is that the main theme of Cross Roads is death.
What I liked:
This is one of the funniest books I have read in a while. There is humor woven throughout the entire novel. Which might surprise you as death, divorce, and serious illness are prevalent in the story. It has a compelling plot and several likeable characters. There are some amazing moments where someone says something really profound. The author smoothly moves between two storylines, one where the protagonist is dealing with the events of his life and the other where he has a discussion with God about his soul.
During his discussions with God, the protagonist, Anthony Spencer, engages in very heady conversations about many important ideas and beliefs people have. The book poses questions and offers answers without preaching. Spencer is on a journey of sorts, one of discovery, where he finds answers which he is willing to accept without feeling forced to. This is genius, in my opinion. And is worth reading for those parts alone.
What I didn’t like:
I thought it started too slowly. I put it down for a while and finally picked it up again believing it would gather momentum because I found The Shack to be interesting. Another similarity Cross Roads has to The Shack is its focus on extreme cases. Anthony Spencer is extremely anti-Christian, while the protagonist in the Shack is extremely broken by the death of a child. What’s wrong with that? Well, not all of us can identify with these extreme positions. But I guess the author would argue that we aren’t supposed to.
If Spencer is such an extreme is he realistic? Now it could be fair for me to ask that, but I’d have to also admit that Spencer might not need to be realistic. As long as enough of his thoughts and actions are reasonable, the fact he himself as a whole is arguably unbelievable doesn’t actually detract from the story.
Recommendation: Must Read