By: Tim Bickel (with Linda Fath and Andy Berlin)
Publication Date: October 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 7, 2011
Readers will find a lovely theme in this novel about how people striving for peace can create peace. A bit like the old motto of “Paying it Forward,” this author goes into the subject of using your own mind to change the path of war, misery, pain, and the awful things that happen around us everyday. Even the superheroes that we are so enamored with, who do stand up for people’s rights and offer help to others, use weapons or other violent means in books and onscreen. With the ideas that are stated in this novel, regular human beings can be taught to create their own miracles for others without the need of frightening artillery.
We begin with Patrick. Patrick is our main character and works as a stand-up comedian/magician in Cleveland. Many, many people come to see his show; he’s been getting a lot of word-of-mouth publicity – so much so, that on this one evening a news crew has come to the establishment to get Patrick’s supposed ‘miracles’ on tape. Patrick has the ability to go up to an audience member, speak with them for a few moments, and their heart’s desire ends up right in their hand. No, I’m not talking cash or a Porsche out in the driveway – I’m talking about things much more personal, something they really and truly want that will change their lives and the way they think...a true miracle.
One of the men in the visiting news crew is Darrell. Darrell is one of those really good people who had a difficult situation that he’s still trying to get through. He’s a God-fearing individual who works hard, reads his Bible, etc. – and yet with all the faith he has and all the goodness he’s shown by “playing by the rules” he ends up losing his son. It’s not that Darrell rejects God at this point – his faith is still there, he just can’t understand why the Lord would forsake him. After watching Patrick give these ‘miracles’ to the audience Darrell gets extremely upset. He faces Patrick and demands to know why he doesn’t offer these miracles to everyone in need? Why doesn't he go out in the world and save ALL the people who need saving? Patrick’s simple reply of “why don’t you?” infuriates Darrell, yet something strikes a chord deep in his soul that makes him turn and walk away and head home to think over the message Patrick was trying to relate.
Many characters including a television hostess, a judge, and slightly angry teenagers who all have their own ideas about life, meet up with Patrick. He instructs them on what it means to be able to help others by using their own minds. You see, everything is an idea and ideas can be changed or molded to make everyone, universally, be able to step back, look at the atrocities in this world, and choose to stop or change them.
When a man named Jarreel appears at Patrick’s side – he explains that he is on the same path. He “awoke” over seven hundred years ago and has played “angel" to many who have needed his help. Soon, he introduces Patrick to a place called Shambala, and teaches him how to pass between the “world” he lives in, into this fantastic place that works as a center of instruction. Here, in these alternate locations, people who are confused or upset – holding on to painful emotions or ideas – can come and “learn” a new way of living, adopting the hope and peace that makes them feel reborn into a new, exciting life. These various friends become the ‘Ones,’ and the story goes on to reveal concepts that can literally change the future.
Again, the theme that is professed throughout this novel is certainly a theme that should be adopted. All a person has to do nowadays to feel completely depressed before going to work, or heading out to do their chores for the day, is turn on the television set and watch the battles that are being fought in all social, political, and cultural realms. Perhaps if we did understand that we have the ability to create miracles - that this gift is located in each and every one of our hearts, minds and souls - then the world would be a much better place. The author offers a line in this novel that really sums up what all readers should take from the pages: Being a spectator is an idle, dead state. In other words, it's time to be a participant in our own life...and start living it!
With the sometimes sermon-"esque" speeches that are delivered by the characters, and the editorial errors that are scattered throughout the text, readers should be aware that they will really need to invest themselves in this story. This is anything but light reading, and consulting the author's website before beginning the journey would greatly increase the reader's understanding of the key theme that this novel delivers.
Quill says: While this book could definitely be improved by an editor's eye, the sole idea is truly one that all people should consider adopting into their everyday lives.