Monday, 6 August 2012

Hometown Prophet

What if an unexpectedly accurate prophet arose in the midst of the bible belt? And what if the bible belt wasn't all that thrilled? These are the questions which the novel, Hometown Prophet, pursues in this relatively surface exploration. The result is kind of like the Peretti novels of a generation ago except with better theology. 

Peter Quill is a young man who has not yet found his niche. Somewhat beaten up by church and world, he winds up aimless and living with his mom at 30. When his dreams kick into high gear with an alarming accuracy, his story becomes less aimless. It's not hard to cheer on the realistically imperfect, but likeable young hero; surely many of us have felt the urge to let loose a God-ordained rant at segments of the church, and the targets are fairly chosen if not altogether original. 

Even if your sympathies lie with the author, one can begin to feel that the overall story is a little too self-satisfied, however. One doesn't get the impression that the author was too surprised by God during the writing of the novel (though perhaps he was in the years prior, to be fair) and a sense of judgement towards characters like "Little Miss Perfect" slips through with only a smattering of grace. A good dose of nuance and humanizing touches would have added some useful depth. But seeing as Peter Quill's experiences must undoubtedly be a reflection of the difficulties that author, Jeff Fulmer, has faced in countering the commercialized and politicized Christianity of Tennessee (and many other places), one can appreciate the frustration that energizes the novel.

If you're looking for a light, readable story (I devoured the novel in a day - and, yes, I did get some work done that day too, thank you very much) and especially if you relate to growing up in charismatic, evangelical culture, you may well enjoy this novel which does have a prophetic message to share. 

(Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of the book through the Speakeasy review network.)

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