I’ve been reading Bill Myers’ books since I was a kid. I tripped my way through his books about renowned klutz, Wally McDoogle, went undercover with Agent Dingledorf and visited the allegorical otherworld of Fayrah. Being a huge fan of allegory, the Imager Chronicles (also known as Journeys to Fayrah) were my favorite.
As far as Myers’ adult books go, I hadn’t read anything until recently, when I began the Harbingers book series. I listen to a lot of audiobooks at work (things are even quieter than usual in the library, thanks to COVID) and am currently in Cycle 3 of the series, which is co-written by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti (another of my favorite authors), Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky.
Also recently, I signed up for NetGalley, which provides reviewers with free ebook copies. I had seen Bill make a few posts about his latest book, Rendezvous with God on his Facebook page. Plus, this was a title that was available for immediate download, which meant I didn’t need to request access from the publisher. And, I felt led to read it.
When I first saw the book’s cover, and based on the Facebook posts and the title, I thought it might be a devotional book. I was much more intrigued when I read the synopsis and discovered that the book was fiction.
Myers certainly has a knack for humor, which shines through in the narrator’s strong voice. I think this is the main element that pulled me into the story within the first few sentences. And the early reference to Doritos helped.
In addition to the protagonist’s characterization, I also felt that the other main character, Ambrosia (always referred to as “Amber” by the main character. Interestingly, it’s unclear as to whether Will is shortening her name or she is pulling a “call me Cordelia”), was well-characterized and believable. Setting was clearly established early on, and the book certainly reflected our current cultural/ political climate, with references to the Coronavirus and Amber’s insistence that a male cat, Karl, be called Sabrina. After all, she argues, he’s been fixed, so it’s the “same thing.”
I also enjoyed much of the dialogue in the book: between Will and Amber, Will and his best friend/ co-worker, Sean, and Will and a co-worker, Darlene. These interactions were humorous and also exemplified Myers’ knack for characterization.
At the beginning of the book, I found Will’s present day reality to be more compelling than the rendezvous scenes. However, as the plot progressed, the intertwining elements between the two settings drew me more into the rendezvous moments.
For me, the book became increasingly powerful as the storyline progressed— particularly at the climax of the novel. In addition to this core scene, I also found strong truths embedded throughout. One of my favorite emphases was the distinction between the “Christian club” and the “friend” of Yeshua, illustrated with a stick-figure sketch.
Other Things I Liked
- Will refers to Jesus as Yeshua
- Myers isn’t afraid to challenge Americana Christianity
- I read the book yesterday and have thought about it several times, today.
I liked what I saw in this book. While I wouldn’t say it is the first I’ve seen of its kind, I do believe it addressed some important truths, particularly in the “religion vs. relationship” vein, that are frequently overlooked in the church. Overall, in light of my own personal experience and the fact that Jesus spoke in parables, I think that fiction is a powerful way to portray truths. I would recommend Rendezvous with God for Christians, because half of the book takes place in the Gospels. I think these references would be much more appreciated by a Christian audience. The book is not “subtly” Christian but certainly provides context and insight into accounts that are very familiar to Christians.