Home > Uncategorized > A Review of Paul Young’s Cross Roads

A Review of Paul Young’s Cross Roads

Here’s a preview of my consumer review appearing tomorrow at Thinking Out Loud…


The original distribution target for The Shack was about 15 copies. So it’s not surprising that million-copy-selling author Paul Young refers to Cross Roads as the first novel he intentionally wrote.

While The Shack took Paul Young into some places that other Christian novels would never reach and started all manner of conversations, the fact remains that the response from some Evangelicals and the Reformed community in particular was less than enthusiastic. I would like to say that Cross Roads clears up all the misconceptions and establishes that Young is definitely not a heretic in their eyes, but much of the doctrinal language of The Shack continues in Cross Roads, though I phrase it that way because this is often a war of words, not theology.

The critics are waiting in the wings waiting for enough information about the book to leak out so they might launch their attack without actually buying a copy, particulars I’m not going to oblige them with here. Frankly, I’m drawn to Young’s picture of a loving God — regardless of the size, shape, age or gender in which he prefers to clothe any member of The Trinity — and would have no problem approving him to teach Sunday School at my church, a proposition that no doubt causes his detractors to shudder.

At the end of the day Cross Roads is a work of fiction, with a very contrived premise or two, but no more extreme than James Rubart’s Soul’s Gate which we reviewed here a few days back. It is well-written, technically accurate, and resolves plot loose ends. It’s a book about life, and how some people live it, and what is left when life suddenly ends. It contains various aspects of the gospel, and isn’t afraid to wade into doctrinal issues that concern us as ‘church people.’

Nonetheless, I would say about this book what I said about Shack, and that is its greatest value is in giving the book to spiritual outsiders for the purpose of starting conversations; it’s not the last word on systematic theology.

The medical element of the book does not weigh it down; in fact the book is very lighthearted in a couple of places, including one scene that can only be described as comedic. The lead character is delineated vividly in the opening chapters; you cannot help but have opinions about Anthony Spencer. The author isn’t afraid to introduce new subplots or complications in the last quarter. Some Biblical passages are alluded to, at other points you get chapter and verse. The work validates that Young is a good writer and certainly deserving of the success which changed his life so dramatically a few years ago.

If you’re one of the eighteen million people who purchased The Shack you don’t need to think twice about also getting a copy of Cross Roads.

Cross Roads is in release worldwide in hardcover ($24.99 US) on the FaithWords imprint of Hachette Book Group. A copy was provided to Thinking Out Loud through Speakeasy, an awesome social media book promotion agency. The term “Sunday School” used above isn’t literal — we don’t have one — I’m referring to leading a Children’s ministry small group.

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  1. November 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    been on CBD recently to see their preorder price? sigh glad I have long since given up on us getting pricing that keeps us competative with these big stores but this one just about took my breath away when I stumbled upon it. actually a few dollars cheaper than I paid for my books wholesale…

    • November 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      I can never figure out why CBD feels they need to go that deep to get the sale. Who is *their* competition? Their price with 25% shipping to Canada and a 2% bank/exchange rate today works out to $17.20. Your cost from Hachette with the standard 44% discount and free shipping is $15.67. So a store like mine that does web-matching could technically do the sale and make $1.53.

      Here’s another way to look at it. If the book was in paperback, it would retail around $18 CDN of which $7.92 would be profit (using the Hachette 44% discount). You could add that to your cost of $15.67 and sell the book for $23.59 and at least be perceived as discounting it.

  2. November 14, 2012 at 12:55 am

    The thing is, there will always be critics, but if a book can bring life and thought, then it’s done a solid job. The Shack is controversial, yes, but it stimulates conversation. And thought. There is an ugliness about it, but then Jesus wasn’t particularly attractive on the outside, but He made people think and feel. Well-meaning evangelicals may shudder at The Shack, but only if they reckon they’ve got all the answers.
    Blessings!

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