I received a copy of THE ENCOUNTER: SOMETIMES GOD HAS TO INTERVENE by Stephen Afterburn, from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. The book is about Jonathan Rush, a wealthy businessman in Florida who has never been able to deal with his mother’s abandonment. After a suicide attempt, he is advised to confront her in Alaska, the state he was born in, and finally put his rage behind him. He arrives in Fairbanks, Alaska, and begins tracking the woman who left him when he was four years old. Through a series of investigations that takes him from an orphanage to a burned cabin, Jonathan learns how to better communicate with people and realizes the value of friendship. Erica, a reporter, helps him on his way, as does an array of other complex characters. In the end, he learns the greatest gift he can give and receive is forgiveness. As I read the final chapter, tears sprang to my eyes. The book is both deep and touching. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the simplistic writing style. At times, I would have liked to see Jonathan’s emotion more, and some sentences seemed more telling rather than showing. I also figured out Mercy’s secret within a page of meeting her. Altogether, though, this is one of my new favorites.
It is less than two-hundred pages, so I was able to read it all in one evening. At the end, Stephen Afterburn included a discussion guide and the truth behind the story, for it is based on something real that happened to the author, adding another amazing level. I’ve already passed the book on to my dad. This is a perfect gift for family or friends.