Sunday, June 28, 2020

Where the Road Bends

Where the Road Bends by David Rawlings
Thomas Nelson: 6/2/20
review copy; 304 pages

Where the Road Bends by David Rawlings is a recommended allegorical novel featuring a reunion of four college friends. This is highly recommended and a good choice if you like fiction that follows a spiritual journey of self-discovery.

Four college friends promised after graduation to meet and have a fifteenth reunion. The four are keeping their promise and meeting to take a trip to the Australian Outback. "Eliza needs to disconnect from her high-powered fashion job to consider the CEO position she’s just been offered. Lincoln hopes to rekindle a past relationship and escape from another one. Bree looks forward to a fun get away from home and her deeply buried disappointments. Andy wants to disappear from the mess he’s made of his life - possibly forever."

Once they are out at their campsite in the middle of nowhere, one of their guides, Eddie, asks them all the same questions: Tell me your story? Do you enjoy it? He then makes it clear to them that they are replying with what they do, their job, rather than about themselves personally and their lives. This sets the tone for the true purpose of this novel: a parable or allegory of their inner spiritual journey which will take place after a bizarre storm sweeps through their camp and sets them all on their journey, which will include an individual guide to help direct them in their search for their camp and for meaning, purpose, healing, courage, and redemption in their lives.

I appreciate the vivid descriptions of the breathtaking beauty of the Australian Outback and the care taken to set the story in a specific place where the survival tasks are real and work in juxtaposition with the guides who help them find their way back to camp and their true purpose in life. The focus of the plot is a spiritual journey of self-discovery for each individual character, thus it is an allegorical novel.

The characters present a bit of a challenge, however, as they are more caricatures representing different struggles people may have in their lives. So, while there is some character development, the characters all actually represent a struggle people have rather than a well-developed individual. Additionally there seems to be no reason for these four people to really have this reunion after fifteen years. Eliza and Bree have stayed in touch, but the whole group hasn't. (3.5 for me.)

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Thomas Nelson.

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