11/04/2010

Bo's Cafe (by Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol)

I'd never heard of the authors, Bill Thrall or Bruce McNicol, but had seen this book advertised in others I'd read recently by the same publisher - particularly 'The Misunderstood God'. It was recommended elsewhere as a good book to read after 'The Shack'. So, finding a good price from The Book Depository, I ordered it.

'Bo's Cafe' is a fictional account of a man called Steven, who's having problems in his marriage. He feels his wife is too demanding and finds himself taking his anger out on her. She gets upset and has threatens to throw him out. But instead of trying to work things through, he spends less and less time at home.

As the story opens, he's just gone into a pub where he gets chatting with a slightly odd older man who seems to know him. A stalker, perhaps? An angel...? Knowing it was a Christian novel, I wouldn't have been surprised at either.

But this older guy, Andy, turns out to have been a friend of Steven's father, and has had his interests at heart for a long time. So they get chatting, and after some initial reluctance, Steven realises he is worth talking to. At a future meeting he is taken to a cafe owned by a man called Bo, which has a relaxed, friendly and rather eclectic clientele. Gradually Steven learns more about himself, and he also, slowly, begins to learn better how to relate to his wife.

I found the book enjoyable, on the whole. It was somewhat predictable, but not too 'preachy'. I suppose it's intended mostly for Christians stuck on the idea of what grace really means, who like formal, structured meetings on Sundays but don't really get any further.

Or perhaps as an eye-opener for those who have only seen rigid fundamentalist Christians and have no idea about ordinary, everyday followers of Jesus. The idea of being accepted, warts and all, seems big in the book - but that's what I already expect from Christian friends. The cafe seemed fairly normal to me - or at least, what I would like to be normal.

Probably worth reading, but not the spectacularly brilliant or insightful novel that I was half expecting.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 11th April 2010

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