Posted May 19, 2010
Like many of the people who recommended it, I too read through Rooms in less than a day. I don't usually go for Christian scifi because I'm no theology expert. Give me Karen Kingsbury anytime; real life people in a real world with no weird time/reality bending to muddle the issues. Even so, I decided to give it a whirl. Comparisons to The Shack, another house-centred Christian novel, didn't even sway me. Rooms is superior; a compelling story of choices, second chances, healing, and forgiveness.
Successful software entrepreneur Micah Taylor (a glance at the "thank yous" reveals he was named after Rubart's two sons) is living in a fool's paradise. At first glance, anyway. Inside, he's a barrel of mixed emotions, unhealed wounds, and bad choices. A letter from his uncle (who is not God), the first of several arrives in the mail informing him that he is sole heir to a custom-built house on Cannon Beach, the one place that has come to symbolize all that is broken in his life. He travels down there, thinking he'll check the place out and put it on the market. Instead, the house grabs him by the heart and won't let him go. For it is more than a house; it is a mortar, wood, brick, and glass representation of his soul. And it will lay on the line everything he holds dear. Challenge his perceptions of what really matters most. Bring him face to face with the God he abandoned. So the big question remains; world or soul?
Shades of Brigadoon (movie) and Twice In A Lifetime (TV show) here, only it's so much more than that. You can write off the former as a nice fantasy, and the latter as a whimsical look at second chances. But Micah's backstory is easily yours or mine. Despite the fantasy elements, we all have to choose whether to "sell eternity to buy a toy." (Whose quote is that? Nice!) On the outside looking in, we can ape Peter all we want, ("Oh no, Lord, not I!") but when push comes to shove, we'll blow it just like he did. I say this with certainty because you probably have. I know I've made my share of mistakes. What is so incredible is that God wants us back, even after we're damaged goods.
Rooms is not only full of great spiritual insight, it's well written fiction too. Rubart manages to make his characters sound like real people, with the exception of Micah's father, Daniel, who sounds a little too precise in his words. Mysterious, soulful Rick.....sweet, innocent Sarah.....shallow, worldly Julie....these are people we live with and work with every day. He also manages to balance out the serious themes with some well-placed humor. And as for the fantastic nature of many of the scenes in this book? If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to watch Star Wars, then you can surely imagine the possibility of a journey into self. In fact, this reviewer predicts that you won't have to imagine for long. Movie rights are probably being discussed as you read this.
You don't have to be a scifi geek, a book maniac, or even a Christian to enjoy Rooms. But I dare you to do more than enjoy it. I dare you to ask God to boot up AutoCAD and show you your floorplan. Get ready for a wild ride as you and God explore your own Rooms together.
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