Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review of Rooms by James L. Rubart

I keep saying that I’m not going to review any more books unless I really like them. I’m compromising today by reviewing Rooms by James L. Rubart because I mentioned it in a previous post, saying that I intended to read it to see if there was any truth to the reviews showing up on as a result of people who read the free version.

In a word, this book is weird. It is about the owner of a software company who inherits a house on the beach. The house is modeled after the man’s heart. We later discover that the house is demon possessed, so perhaps that means the man is also demon possessed, but that isn’t made clear in the book. In any case, the more attached the man gets to his life at the house on the beach the more he loses of his previous life. People who were once a big part of his life become as if they had never met him. He has memories of these things, but they don’t.

I might as well tell you that it’s a case of deus ex machina all over the place. I found the book particularly disconcerting because the characters change in unexpected ways throughout the book. Even the main character turns out to be a painter instead of a software engineer when we reach the end of the book. It is as if he had never been a software engineer. I’m not quite sure how being a painter makes one closer to God than being a software engineer, but that seems to be what Jim is asserting, so from that standpoint I tend to agree with some of the one start reviewers.

Another thing the one star reviewers talked about was the use of scripture and the preachy nature of the book. The book does use a lot of scripture in places and there are scenes that do come across as preachy, but I don’t think it is quite as bad as they made it sound.

In terms of plot, this is an Out of the Bottle story with some elements that give the appearance of a Monster in the House story. Some of the burbs say things along the lines of this book is the modern day Pilgrim’s Progress. That seems to be the popular thing to say about weird Christian books. You’ll recall that’s what some people said about The Shack. There’s simply no comparison. Pilgrim’s Progress was a Golden Fleece story and I very much doubt that Rooms will come near it in terms of sales. I also doubt there’ll be very many school children writing book reports about it.

But should you read it? If you like weird books, go for it. I didn’t notice any heinous doctrinal errors to point out. Or let me put it this way, if you liked Demon you’ll probably like Rooms.