I was somewhat apprehensive when agreeing to review this book for Ben, a first-time author, because he was a….. well….., a first-time author. What if I hated it? What if it was badly written? What would I say to him?
Being an awesome procrastinator, the book sat in my “to read” pile for several months, until I finally picked it up.
And you know what comes next, right? Of course I couldn’t put it down, especially once I got past the half-way point. The story is gripping and while there are some “first-time author” aspects to Ben’s writing, they really weren’t enough to put me off reading on.
I first met Benjamin Grant Mitchell (Ben) through a bloggers’ group I established on Facebook. I checked out his blog and learnt that he had written a book about his experiences in a religious cult. I also learnt that he dabbled in acting and music and was an all round fascinating person. You can see for yourself here.
His book “The Last Great Day” is based on his family’s experiences in a religious group, which in the book is called the Worldwide Church. It is a church based on its founder’s interpretations of the Bible and world events at the time, which lead him to a prophecy (or several) about the end of the world.
The family in the book consists of Henry, who is a pastor in the Church, his wife, Elizabeth and their two children.
From the very first page, the story is extremely down to earth and believable. The characters are real, flawed and self-aware. Their faith is unwavering and completely consumes their lives, sometimes shockingly so. Parts of the book were quite hard to read and I wanted to take the character involved and shake some sense into him.
The church forbids its members to associate with anyone outside the church leading to the family’s isolation and reluctance to engage with anyone outside of their religious community. This makes things difficult for the book’s child protagonist, Jacob, as do the church’s rules about not celebrating any religious or secular holidays.
As the story progresses, so does the family’s spiritual journey, as they slowly begin to use their own judgement and moral compass to distinguish between the teachings of the Bible from those of the church leader. It is a fascinating journey, very thoughtfully documented by the author and I often found myself nodding along with the spiritual musings of the father in the book.
The family moves home often, as per the church’s directions, so they learn to live with few possessions and rely on themselves and their internal lives to create a sense of identity for their family. No matter where they are, they know who they are and their faith continues to sustain them.
Knowing that it was based on a real story, made the book even more fascinating to read. Knowing a tiny bit about the author, I knew that the end was ultimately a positive one, but I didn’t know the actual outcome. This made reading “The Last Great Day” a gripping experience as I accompanied the characters through their moral and spiritual dilemmas.
Once I finished the book, I had many questions for Ben about what happened next, some of which he graciously answered, but I won’t write about them here, so as not to spoil the book for you.
You can purchase your own copy of “The Last Great Day” here.
I also have one copy to give away, thanks to Ben.
To win complete the form below.
The (really) fine print, also known as Terms and Conditions
- Only Australian Residents are eligible to enter.
- For entries to be eligible, you must complete the entry form. Incomplete entries, or answers exceeding 25 words, will be deemed invalid and will be deleted.
- The most interesting/creative complete entry will win one copy of “The Last Great Day” from Ben Mitchell
- One entry per person only.
- Judge’s decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Entries close midnight, 21 February 2013, and will be drawn on 22 February 2013. The winner will be notified by email, and posted on www.singularinsanity.com.
- Prizes are not transferable, changeable or redeemable for cash.
- Entrants’ personal information is collected in order to conduct the promotion. Personal information will be kept confidential and not passed onto third parties.
- The Promoter is Dorothy Krajewski of SingularInsanity.com. Contact: Dorothy@singularinsanity.com