Wednesday, August 11, 2010

REVIEW: Rooms by James L. Rubart


On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

About the Author

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. He serves on the board of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and lives with his wife and sons in Seattle, Washington.

Check out his website to learn more about him and some of his favorite things.

My Thoughts

Micah Taylor is a software genius who heads one of the top software companies in the country. If you were to ask him, he would tell you that his life in Seattle couldn’t be any better. Then a mysterious letter arrives from his long-dead Uncle Archie, informing him that he has built him a house in Cannon Beach, Oregon and willed it to him after his death. Micah visits Cannon Beach with the intention of checking out the house for sale, but he finds himself drawn in by the house, digging up memories he had thought better left alone, and rediscovering a relationship with God long-forgotten.

I had a problem with the subject matter. I found it had an almost “magical” quality, which I don’t do well with when a story has our current world as a backdrop. I just don’t “buy” it. I mean, rooms just appear “out of thin air” in a house? However that is not meant to take away from the author. This book is well-written, easy to read-- a “comfortable” read. It’s like getting home from work, taking off your heels and clothes and slipping into something more comfortable.

I was especially interested in the debate regarding the heart. Is being “a good Christian” simply following God’s Word to the letter? Living your life by a collection of strict hard-and-fast rules? Or is it opening your heart to God and allowing him to infiltrate your heart and soul, and living through what your heart tells you is right?
“The Pharisees were the ultimate followers of principles and rules. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. Look the right way. Say the right things. Do this; don’t do that! Jesus blew their minds. He said the wrong things, hung out with the wrong kind of people: prostitutes and tax collectors. Ate the wrong kind of food, healed on the wrong day, sat down to dine too many times with the wrong kind of people...

...So they branded Him a drunkard and a glutton. A friend of sinners. But He only cared about one thing-- setting something free that you abandoned and buried a long time ago.” Rick stared into Micah’s eyes. “The treasure of the Kingdom.”

Rick leaned in and smiled. “Your heart.”
My boyfriend and I have had similar debates in the past. He would insist that there are all of these hard-and-fast rules that you must follow (and not just the ten commandments, but so many more) “or else”. I, on the other hand, would tell him that God looks to your heart. He doesn’t simply see the act, but the motivations behind the act. He knows whether you are truly regretful when you do something you shouldn’t, he knows whether you truly have the best of intentions when you do something “iffy” for good reason-- he knows your HEART, and that is what really matters. By the heart you will be judged, more so than by your actions.

The longer I read this book, the more "natural" the magical qualities seemed. However the rooms for which the book was named are what I continued to have trouble with. The other "magical qualities" (or miracles or supernatural or whatever you would call these experiences) were much easier to swallow. The rooms themselves just didn't feel natural to me, and became something of a roadblock for me.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed some of the spiritual exploration, the setting in Cannon Beach (as well as one of my favorite cities Seattle), the characters of Micah, Sarah and Rick. Mr. Rubart has an easy-to-read writing style. This was a nice and easy story.

My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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