I belong to Speakeasy, an organization that releases new spiritual books before they hit the mainstream market to bloggers to review. I just joined and I think it's a fun way to get some free reads in a genre that I already enjoy. My first Speakeasy review is for the book, Hometown Prophet by Jeff Fulmer. Here is a trailer for the book:
I had never heard of a book having its own trailer before, but there you go.
The book is a story about Peter Quill, a man in his early thirties who moves back home to live with his mother. He feels very discouraged and ashamed of himself until he starts having prophetic dreams. Peter never knows exactly what his dreams mean, but he knows that he needs to share his visions with others. Through the telling of his dreams, some people come to worship him and some people come to hate him, but Peter comes to have more confidence in himself by telling others what they do not want to hear. Although Peter comes from a charismatic, fundamentalist church, Peter's dreams tell of an inclusive God that cares about the environment and loves all people. This message stretches the minds and hearts of many kinds of people, including Peter's minister.
I resonated with the feelings of the main character in the beginning, as I am also in my early thirties and living at home. I know what it feels like to feel ashamed of where I am and I also know how one needs to develop an attitude of gratitude in order to appreciate the blessings one really has. I liked the scenes where Peter stands up for the outcast in our society and I enjoyed watching him grow into a more self-confident person. In fact, it was interesting reading Peter's story, because even though a diagnosis was never mentioned, Peter obviously suffers from social anxiety. Having some social anxiety myself, I could definitely relate to Peter's constant questioning of himself and self-doubt. I could also relate to his sexual insecurities-even though he does not believe that sex before marriage is wrong, he still feels slightly guilty about it at times. So did I for a long time-I credit the church I grew up in for that particular damage-and it was refreshing to see what must be a common issue to grapple with in the Bible belt dealt with so unashamedly. With plenty of action, a love story, and a climatic biblical throw-down in a church, I could easily see this book transformed into a movie. This book is definitely geared towards Christians and even one who doesn't know their Bible well enough might feel a little lost with some of the biblical references. I recommend this book to Christians who believe that God's grace extends to everybody or at least to those who are willing to be challenged in their beliefs.