Anthony Spencer is in serious trouble. Head trauma lands him in ICU where he finds that his troubles are much worse than constant headaches. He is fighting for his life, or rather, resting for it. He begins a spiritual, unexplainable journey that leads him to a place he doesn’t recognize. Beautiful and full of potential, but badly needing renovations. He is pleasantly surprised to find out where he really is and who is really with him. While he is in this place and with these people, Anthony is given something extremely powerful: a choice to save someone’s life. Who will he choose? Will he choose himself?
Wm. Paul Young transcends what people generally believe about scriptural matters. You can see that he is not closed minded as a writer. Even from his controversial novel The Shack where God was portrayed as a heavy-set Black woman, Jesus, a lumberjack and the Holy Spirit, a magnificent being of light and colors. He does the same thing here in Cross Roads with a little different treatment when it came to God. Young captures you with the first paragraph’s description of winter being a bully. I love when non-personal things are personalized and I often add this to my writing.
The novel seems to be a bit didactic at times and it takes away from the flow. It seems that a lot of time is spent explaining things (or half-explaining them) during dialogue. This could be done differently either through prose or the flow of the story.
You can tell that Anthony is deeply troubled and initially we are only given a glimpse of why. He is distrusting and even states that he would rather trust dead people. His paranoia probably stems from his internal struggles and past relationships that make him feel like someone is against him. Is someone against him? Is someone following him? Or is it just fear that stems from his isolation? At times, he reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I could see Anthony Spenser in his secret office, walled away, revising his last will and testament, glorying over his shiny coins. He stood alone. No community. But this is so far from the Father and His intent. Community, as Wm. Paul Young eloquently displays, is important to the Father. He tells us in His Word that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One. Community provides a support system in which the whole is strengthened by the cumulative work of all the different parts of that one community.
Cross Roads is my second Wm. Paul Young novel and though I didn’t enjoy it half as much as I did the shack, I still like it enough to give subsequent Young novels a try.