Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

Hey all!
Having grabbed my bowl of Lucky Charms (never get these!), a mint chocolate chip muffin that is even dyed green, and cup of cranberry juice, I make my way to the back table by the window that is my table on the meals I eat alone at : ) I arranged myself and since I didn't have the book I'm currently reading with me, I pulled out The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn that had yet made it out of my bag. I never expected that in the next forty-five minutes I would plow through the 159 page book from start to finish, but that alone should indicate that it was a good read!

Back Cover Blurb:
The past often holds secrets that are too painful to be revealed, too deep to confess.
A wealthy businessman travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, to learn why his mother abandoned him when he was a child, and in the process learns that not everything is as it appears to be.
The Encounter, the unique new book from best-selling author and counselor Stephen Arterburn, is a moving parable involving Jonathan Rush, a wealthy and famous entrepreneur, who is tortured by bitterness toward his mother who abandoned him when he was four. He travels to Alaska to find her but instead meets an enigmatic old woman known only as Mercy. Mercy has the information he needs but is strangely reluctant to talk to him. Somehow Jonathan must find a way to persuade a frightened woman to unlock the secrets of his past.
The book includes an invitation to the readers to verify the facts of their own stories, to accept the reality of their existence, especially the most painful ones, and to live in forgiveness. The end result is a healthy new way to look at life with an ability to share hope with others for the future. Healing is possible but requires truth, acceptance, and forgiveness, including of oneself.

My review:
I will be honest, I was wary of asking for this book because the description didn't completely capture my attention. However, I really wanted to try out BookSneeze's system since I am new to it, so I requested it. But, boy, when I started reading it there was something about it that just compelled me to keep reading.
This was my first book by Stephen Arterburn, never heard of him actually, but now I might try and look into his other stuff or at least keep an eye out for new books! I really enjoyed his writing style. It was simplistic, yet descriptive enough you could picture it quite clearly.
From the beginning of this book, you are being jetted off to the beautiful land of Alaska. This is some place I've never been before, but the things I hear about it sound magnificent. Arterburn definitely shows strengths in descriptions and his characters. I felt like I knew exactly who the people were. They were relatable in their flaws and strengths, which sometimes can be a problem in fictional writing. I would have liked to see Jonathan and Erica's relationship evolve into something more. He simply implies that in the future they will become a couple.
I really enjoyed reading the parts involving Mercy. Her character intrigued me thoroughly. Mercy, meaning 'compassion' as a name, is a mystery in and of herself, I would venture to say. I think anyone who reads this book will be somewhat surprised with how her story turns out.
My biggest criticism of The Encounter is if Arterburn had maybe made it a bit of a longer book, he could have thickened the plot more. There were mysteries, there were twists and turns, but they were not very well developed. I felt like I had just begun to figure out that something was even supposed to be a mystery when they would give me the answer to it lol. So that is my biggest criticism for sure.
Overall, I did enjoy it and I do feel it's worth a read. It won't take you long at all, so why not try it? Who knows? It might resonate really well for you!

~Thanks to BookSneeze for providing me a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.~

More book reviews coming, peeps!

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