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Review: The Reason by William Sirls

After two previous mentions at Thinking Out Loud, I finally finished the book and got around to the actual review. I took the approach of making some very appropriate comparisons to books with which most of us are quite familiar.

I’ll mention some similarities to The Shack in a moment, but one similarity that exists outside the pages itself is the fact that neither The Shack nor The Reason were ever intended to be seen by a larger audience. Wm. Paul Young wrote the former for his kids with the initial “print” run being a dozen copies. Photocopies really. William Sirls wrote the latter and submitted it to Westbow, a self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson, Inc (TNI) to be available in print on demand, until it was read by a TNI receptionist who had an eye for good writing.

Sirls is an unlikely author. As I noted previously, “…Sirls, who began writing a novel in 2004, shelved his story after he made the decision to turn himself in to authorities and spend 29 months in federal prison, convicted of wire fraud and money laundering. While in prison, Sirls began to understand what it meant to have a true relationship with God. Inspired by his developing faith, Sirls picked up his original manuscript and began creating a spiritual backbone to his novel.

Like The Noticer by Andy Andrews, and So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen (pseud.), William Sirls’ book contains a character who seems to have unusually deep insights into people and events both past, present and future. Is he more than what he appears to be?

Like the currently popular Rooms, The Book of Days, and The Chair by James Rubart, The Reason contains a continually advancing plot, a good mix of male and female protagonists — nice to see more fiction men can enjoy — and supernatural occurrences.

Like The Shack, this book, The Reason contains a crisis or if you will, a “great sadness.” Or several. Not to mention several characters in a crisis of faith.

And like all of these, The Reason uses a fair amount of “Socratic dialogue” to give the complete work a didactic or teaching value without compromising considerations of plot and characterization. There is enough character balance that the tough questions of life are addressed in a manner that isn’t preachy or ‘churchy’ resulting in a book that could be given — or should be given — to people outside the faith family.

The ultimate message of believing faith in The Reason probably answers as many questions as it creates new ones. I certainly couldn’t stop reading this book, and I suspect it will be among the top ten Christian titles heading into the fall season.

An advance copy of The Reason was provided to Thinking Out Loud by Thomas Nelson/Graf-Martin

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