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A review for Christians: Some minor spoilers
on February 10, 2014
What if there really were ghosts? What would it feel like to be one? What powers and limitations do they have?
J.R. Rain explores these intriguing questions. And though I suppose the book is spiritual in its way, it certainly isn't Christian. One of the characters is a medium, and many other people are said to be mediums as well, without knowing it. (In this book, a medium is anyone who senses the spirits or ghosts around them.) There is no heaven or hell, only "whatever you want there to be." Reincarnation is one of those things. And though angels and even Jesus himself make appearances, this is not the Jesus of the Bible (though it is not an offensive representation, in my opinion). Jesus' name and the word "hell" are frequently used as swear words throughout.
I found the book to be entertaining, thought provoking, and creative. I also found it mildly disturbing at times, early in the book, when James, the ghost, seems to be trapped in a kind of hell, losing his memories and his sense of identity day by day.
As a former church youth leader, I kept thinking this book would be excellent as a teaching tool for high school students. It would be really fun to discuss the ways it veers away from orthodoxy. The book is short, a quick read, reasonably well written, funny and touching. It also concerns itself with repentance and forgiveness, so that may be why some people saw it as Christian.