Monday, August 29, 2011

The Answer by Allison Wynn

Wynn’s The Answer is a self-help short story; it is non-fiction subject matter presented in a fiction writing style. I was left with the impression that the story is the author’s personal experience but since it is written as fiction I can’t say that for sure.

The two main characters, Eric and Allison, meet at Starbucks. Eric thought the table he selected was vacant only to discover a journal left on the seat. In an effort to identify the owner he reads the journal and that’s when Allison returns to her table to discover this stranger who is weeping. I will summarize the rest of the story by saying this man and women (strangers) spent the entire day together talking, their lives were forever changed and they began the battle of letting go of anger.

I must be careful with my criticism because I don’t want to minimize a powerful, life-changing experience if this really is Wynn’s story. Having said that, there were a few red flags waving as I read The Answer. First, my mind cannot picture a man and a woman, who are strangers, spending the day together (skipping work) talking. That’s just not reality. Second, Eric is a married man having an intimate, life-altering experience with another woman and then he goes home to tell his wife all about it. My thought is, wouldn’t you want your wife to be there when you have this “a–ha” moment? As much as I would want to be happy for my husband for this break-through I would feel cheated that I didn’t get to be part of that, but some stranger was.

As for the self-help, non-fiction material Wynn claims that feeling insignificant leads to anger and the need to make others feel insignificant. It’s a cycle that takes discipline to recognize and break free from. That’s all fine and I can agree with that but, I would go one step farther and say the cycle can only be broken when we surrender the behavior to Christ and allow His grace to lead us into a new way of life. I was waiting for “we can overcome anything if we ask God for help” and it wasn’t there. I guess The Answer truly is a self-help book and I was hoping for more.

I received a complimentary copy of The Answer in exchange for a review.

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