3 out of 4 stars
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The Narrow Gate- By John Servant
The book is a work of fiction dealing with God's forgiveness and the things in life that have true value. The story starts with an intriguing beginning. It actually starts at the end of former Senator Joe J's life. John Kelley is asked by his boss, Frank, to write an article about the former senator for the Sunday news magazine of the newspaper. John goes to the hospital and visits Senator Joe's hospital room. He meets an old nun, Sister Francis, praying near the Senator's bedside. From this point time goes backwards and we learn more about the Senator. He graduates from Harvard and becomes a lawyer. He joins a prestigious law firm in New York City, but soon becomes dissatisfied. He moves to upstate New York and becomes a very efficient prosecutor. He marries and has a son and he is very happy. He is asked to go into politics and decides that he can do good things to benefit people, but it is at this point that he begins to make what he considers minimal compromises with the logic that he can fix the wrong things later. This takes him on a downward spiral that affects everything in his life, including his family. There are major events which cause him to rethink his life. Sister Francis stays in the background of his life and enters when needed.
I chose this book because it was categorized as a Christian book and when I read the description it peeked my interest. I am not Catholic but was brought up in a Christian home. The Narrow Gate reflects many of my personal beliefs. I enjoyed the fact that there was absolutely no profanity. John Servant also backed up his story with the Bible verse references. The verses and references are taken from the American Standard Bible, revised edition. When reading the book it was very easy to see where the main character of the book, Joe was headed. I left out a lot of the details in the plot description because I felt that I would give away some very important details that give the book its impact. The book shows what will happen when someone becomes consumed by money and power.
I found it very easy to see what was happening to the main character and that began to irritate me. I wanted to step into the story and rescue him from his mistakes. If I stop to think about it, maybe being irritated is not even a bad thing because it makes the reader pay attention. The book also shows God's gracious forgiveness when we repent and allow God to gently change our thought process and the direction of our lives. When all of that happens the book also shows how a life can be blessed.
The book was not very long but it had a very powerful message. It did not preach but told its story through the plot. It keeps the reader involved, engaged and thinking. I would rate this book with three out of four stars. The reason for that is the double edged sword of feeling frustrated at watching the main character sink to his lowest point. The best and most uplifting part is when Senator Joe realizes where his life is headed. There is both sadness and a sense of peace and inspirational acceptance at the end of the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a book with positive messages that over shadow the necessary sad parts. The book ends with an appropriate ending for all of the characters. One of the things with which I could find satisfaction and truth in is that there is more joy in giving than receiving.
The Narrow Gate
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