3 out of 4 stars
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Spiritual Passage in Arabia by Jim Carroll is a first-person narrative, historical fiction novel. It's set in the early twentieth century and told through the eyes of Pliny Oslander. It follows the Oslander family as they move to Kuwait to be missionaries for their new Church, or so they believe. Instead, the Oslander's find themselves stationed there merely as placeholders until a promised team of medical physicians for the region can arrive. Over time the story shifts to follow Pliny and his own family in their efforts of sharing a near and loving God to neighbors who would just as soon kill them for doing so."But with immersion in the culture, in the land of Islam, would I drown in the confusion?" Pliny Oslander
The book is not action-packed, though it does have its moments of suspense. The most intense situations being at one point in the story where there is a break-in and later when a kidnapping takes place, along with the task of trying to rescue the kidnapped victims. Most of the tension in the story comes with communications between Pliny and those whom he interacts with that are Muslim and of high positions of authority in the region. I found myself hoping, along with Pliny and his family, that things would turn out favorably, despite the dangers their faith walk brought from those surrounding them.
What I liked most about this book was, even though it does have some fictional elements to it, no part of the story was ever too unbelievable. I experienced no difficulty following the dialog, nor did I get lost or bogged down in too many details or names along the way. It also contains no cussing nor sexual content, so it is suitable for a wide variety of readers and ages. What I liked least about this book was that I would have appreciated hearing how Pliny's children felt about events that happened in their lives as well. I'm curious whether their input may have contrasted with Pliny's upbringing in Kuwait.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I gave it a 3 rating instead of a 2 rating because I found the book informative on life as a missionary. I also appreciated the arguments Pliny used in speaking to others concerning their faith and the reasons he gave for questioning what we believe and why we should ask those questions. The reason I gave it a 3 rating instead of a 4 rating was because of the editing errors found within. Although they weren't glaring errors for me, they were still present throughout the book.
I would recommend this book to those who like stories on faith and have an interest in either the Middle East or missions work. I would also suggest this book to both Muslims or Christians, as it does discuss topics concerning both groups. This book will both challenge and encourage your relationship with God.
Spiritual Passage on Arabia
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