I’ve never reviewed a fiction book on this site before, but I recently received and read a review copy of the new novel, The Five Times I Met Myself, by James L. Rubart. The book is a fairly compelling story about a man, with regrets about his relationship with his dad, a bad relationship with his brother, and a failing marriage, who is given the chance to go back and give advice to himself as a younger person.
I mainly read non-fiction books. Perhaps this is the reason why I find myself somewhat of a snob when it comes to fiction literature – I only read a handful each year and I expect it to take me into another world, one where I am so engrossed in the narrative and characters that I am saddened when it is over. Unfortunately, Rubart’s latest book did not accomplish that for me.
If you’re looking for a decently interesting story that will keep the pages turning, The Five Times I Met Myself, might be worth your time. However, I found the narrative and characters both underdeveloped and unnecessarily complicated. The book spends the majority of the time taking the reader through a time-traveling experience fueled by the art of lucid dreaming. While there were interesting moments in the story, I couldn’t help but think of the grandfather paradox the entire time. I was also never sure what the heart of the book was – the main characters relationship with his father, brother, business, or wife. The real let-down comes at the end where apparently none of it really mattered as it was all a trap-door into an altar call for a pseudo-stoicism version of Christianity. The book was best when it explored the concept of how small decisions in life have the ability to affect your future. The book was laborious when endless plot-lines where added, each more unlikely or pointless than the previous. The book was worst when it felt like a gimmick for an evangelistic presentation.
This is actually the first book review I’ve published where I haven’t been super impressed. But, as the note at the end of each book review blog states, I received a free copy of the book by Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.