Thinking Out Loud

August 5, 2010

Rooms by James Rubart

It’s been more than a week since I turned the last page of Rooms by James Rubart.   More than a week to gather my thoughts about the twists and turns of plot and spiritual journey that make up one of the most interesting books I’ve read.

I am not a fiction reader at all, but an increasing percentage of my  reading in the last twelve months has been Christian fiction.    The book came to me by way of a recommendation from the owner of the Christian bookstore in a small town in Eastern Ontario while we were on the first day of our vacation.

Then, in a manner fully in keeping with the spirit of the book itself, a copy showed up unsolicited in the mail. [Insert Twilight Zone theme music here.]   I took it with me on the next leg of our holidays, and began to understand the passion in the store owner’s recommendation.

There are going to be comparisons to The Shack. I say this in the future tense because I’m not sure that this book has hit its stride yet, even though it’s been available for a few months.   Unlike Shack, however, I think Rooms will avoid the doctrinal and theological controversies that dogged the former title, especially given its publication by conservative B&H Fiction (a division of the Baptist company, Broadman & Holman.)

That said, the book is edgy enough in a couple of areas to raise some Baptist eyebrows.   Don’t let the publisher imprint dissuade you.    James Rubart is a comparatively new author, but one who I believe we will be hearing more from in the future.  (I’m already looking forward to Book of Days releasing in 2011…)

There are also going to be comparisons to a title which I have not read, the book House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, as both books are based on a similar premise.   (Although, if you want to stretch things, so also is The Great House of God by Max Lucado, although that’s not close to being a fiction title.)

The protagonist in the story, Micah Taylor,  finds himself the inheritor of a large (9,000 square foot) house with, for lack of a better word, supernatural rooms that appear and disappear — and one that is more constant — representing different aspects of his life history and personality.

And then there’s Rick.   Seems like every book I read lately has a guy who ‘just shows up,’ who has uncanny insights and knowledge.   Echoes of The Noticer by Andy Andrews, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen, and Bo’s Café by a trio of authors.   (Tangent:  All books mentioned in this post, including Rooms, should be high on your list of books you can recommend to a male reader, including those who don’t consider themselves readers.)

Yeah.   That’s about all of the plot that I need to say.   From there you’re on your own.

Given sales figures in the millions, comparing this book to Shack isn’t exactly the worst thing I can do.   However, while that book is something unique that is being used to reach those outside the Christian faith, Rooms may find its audience among the already converted.  I do think there’s room for both types of readers with this book, and I hope it finds a response over the next few months from a variety of readers.   Keep it on your radar.


The reviews:  On one Christian retail site that allows customer reviews, 15 were posted.   One gave the book 4.5 out of 5 stars.   The other fourteen gave it 5 out of 5 stars.   Wow!

The book trailer video:   46-seconds; blink and you miss it.

The picture:  James has one and one only promotional picture which appears everywhere.   Including LinkedIn.  There was one exception — the one on this post — but when I right-clicked it, I ended up with a message reading  “Ephesians 4:32 “(“…let him who stole, steal no more…”) advice which, if taken, would mean and end to photo sharing on any social networking sites.  So I got the picture above from a tribute James did to his father on his personal blog.  Not sure how Ephesians feels about that.  Next time I’m stealing the other picture.

The publisher marketing:  I was a little light here on plot, so here’s more teaser copy from B&H which may contain minor spoilers:

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.

Comments here:  This is about a book called Rooms; it’s not about a book called Shack. Guide yourselves accordingly.




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8 Comments »

  1. Hey, sorry my images weren’t steal-able. It’s a protection thing because I put up so many pictures of my daughter. :) I can send you any pictures you want though if you need them. :)

    Comment by Margaret — August 5, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

    • Ha Ha! Boy did I ever feel under conviction! I spent an hour in silence, skipped dinner, took a shower, wrote a $100 donation to a charity, and said ten Hail Marys — and I’m not even Catholic.

      But seriously, I’ve never seen an instance where a guy has just ONE PICTURE that’s everywhere. He must be camera-shy! You can see why I was anxiously looking for something else. If anyone else out there cares, the picture in question (baseball cap and orange background) is available on other sites — like Book Blips — but by that time I had far too interesting a story not to tell it.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — August 5, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

      • Hehe. Yeah, that is the picture that was given to us (FIRST Wild Card Tours) by the publicist in charge of that tour.

        – FIRST Wild Card Assistant Director :)

        Comment by Margaret — August 5, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  2. You’re thinking I should have some more shots, huh?

    Check out my facebook page!There’s LOTS. (James L. Rubart)

    Just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful review and support.

    Live free,

    Jim

    Comment by James L. Rubart — August 5, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    • You seemed more like a LinkedIn kind of guy! I truly did enjoy the book, though I gotta say I didn’t really consider how big a 9,000 sq. ft. house would be; so in a scene early on where Micah goes to the library, I was picturing him having left the house at that point and gone to the town library. My wife is always amazed how I manage to miss details like that! Of course, she’s also shocked I’ve discovered Christian fiction after 35 years in Christian retail.

      The neat thing about Rooms was that I totally forgot that I was intending to write a review of it. Usually I’m watching page counts trying to figure out how much further before I can get some comments posted. Not this time. I was just enjoying it. I was actually ready for a few more chapters when I suddenly turned the last page.

      My summer of Christian fiction is continuing. I’m currently halfway through The Last Christian by David Gregory (Waterbrook) which is something I think you, too would enjoy.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — August 5, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

  3. […] post is by James Rubart the author of two popular Christian fiction novels, Rooms and The Book of Days. This is the first of nine short vignettes — and one longer short story […]

    Pingback by Remixing Our Image of God « Christianity 201 — June 11, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  4. […] into a work of fiction by an author unknown to me, James Rubart’s Rooms.   As I mentioned when I reviewed the book, I’m not a follower of Christian fiction, but I was very impressed.  So when I heard that a […]

    Pingback by Searching for The Book of Days « Thinking Out Loud — August 12, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  5. […] the currently popular Rooms, The Book of Days, and The Chair by James Rubart, The Reason contains a continually advancing plot, […]

    Pingback by Reviewing The Reason by William Sirls « Thinking Out Loud — August 31, 2012 @ 6:48 am


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