Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deeper Water, by Robert Whitlow, is the first novel in the Tides of Truth Series. Whitlow fuses the legal world with the moral world effortlessly in this book about a law student who works as a summer clerk at a top law office in Savannah.

Tammy Taylor comes from a strict religious group in the mountains of Georgia. She is accustomed to the scrutiny of society regarding her beliefs but, working as a summer clerk presents challenges she is not used to facing alone. Tammy has to balance being professional while not compromising her ethics and upbringing. Along with cases that test her morals, the people she works for and live with also put her faith on trial. Two male coworkers vie for Tammy’s attention while the other female summer clerk seems bent on criticizing her principles. As Tammy works on her primary case she learns more about the firm which leads her to doubt her decision to work there. She must choose between confronting the truth and ignoring he upbringing.

When I learned Deeper Water is a legal drama, I feared I would be lost due to my lack of knowledge about lawyers and the justice system. Whitlow takes the reader into the legal world without bombarding the reader with jargon. Having personal experience with the legal system is not a prerequisite for reading Whitlow’s novels. I was pleasantly surprised to discover there is more to the plot than the cases and clients Tammy represents.

Whitlow’s characters are the purest I have encountered. I do not know of any person, fictional or otherwise, who is as pure in thought and action as Tammy Taylor and a few other characters in Deeper Water. These characters drastically contradict the lawyer stereotype, adding interest to the story. I am left wondering if Whitlow can create such characters because he himself engages in the same disciplined lifestyle.

Deeper Water is a good choice for those who have an interest in the law without the heavy-handedness of the terminology. Deeper Water is a good choice for those who can relate to Tammy’s moral persecution in a secular world. Deeper Water is a good example of how Christians can live in the world and not be of the world. I recommend adding the Tides of Truth Series to your reading list.

Thomas Nelson 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59554-132-1

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yes, I Read the Shack Again

I do not typically reread books. The Shack is an exception. I think I could read this book once a year. This is a book that challenges my views and perceptions. This book makes me evaluate myself so in that regard, I should read it once a year.

The Shack is a fiction book with a lot of truth in it. Several times I asked myself is this a true story? I give credit to Young for writing a book that seems real enough that the reader has to remind herself it is fiction.

MacKenzie Allen Philips is a husband and father who experiences childhood abuse and the kidnapping and murder of his daughter. These circumstances leave Mack feeling distant from God. Mack is certain God is unloving and has left him to fend for himself in life until he receives a note in the mail.

After much deliberation, Mack returns to the shack where his daughter was killed to meet God. During his time there Mack’s world transformed, quite literally, into what God intended it to be. Mack learns to know and love Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit in ways he never imagined possible.

Through Mack’s adventure at the shack, the reader is presented with truth and theology in a way never read before. I enjoyed the conversations that read so real and genuine. This book made a lasting impression on my views and ideas of who God, Jesus and Holy Spirit are. Our ability to understand and fathom who God is barely begins to define His being. Reading another person’s experience and understanding broadens my view. Young describes the scene, feelings and emotion well. Readers are present and at ease in the story.

This book is fiction and should be read as fiction. Young explains it best, “I am sitting in Eagle Creek, in a rented house, writing a story for my kids. I am not writing a story that I intend or expect will be published. Actually the thought never even entered my mind. I was going to write this thing as a gift…. I wanted my kids to enjoy a story and through the story to understand there own father better and the God that their father is so in love with.”

Read The Shack for the creative writing it is and let it challenge and broaden your view of God but, don’t let it serve as your only resource. The Bible is our foundation of truth that everything should be held up against. Maybe God has a “shack” experience in store for you or maybe you’ll be a changed person after reading Mack’s story.

This book is an absolute "must read" and maybe it will become a yearly occurance for you too.