A wealthy businessman travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, to learn why his mother abandoned him when he was a child, and in the process learns that not everything is as it appears to be.
The Encounter, the unique new book from best-selling author and counselor Stephen Arterburn, is a moving parable involving Jonathan Rush, a wealthy and famous entrepreneur, who is tortured by bitterness toward his mother who abandoned him when he was four. He travels to Alaska to find her but instead meets an enigmatic old woman known only as Mercy. Mercy has the information he needs but is strangely reluctant to talk to him. Somehow Jonathan must find a way to persuade a frightened woman to unlock the secrets of his past.
The book includes an invitation to the readers to verify the facts of their own stories, to accept the reality of their existence, especially the most painful ones, and to live in forgiveness. The end result is a healthy new way to look at life with an ability to share hope with others for the future. Healing is possible but requires truth, acceptance, and forgiveness, including of oneself.
The subject concept is compelling, and the characters are relatively well written. This was a fast read for me. In addition to information about the author at the end and discussion questions, there is also a section from the author that is for “deeper consideration.”
Honestly, I wanted more. Because I felt like the characters could have been more well-developed, I give this 3 out of 5 stars. The topic of searching for and finding a biological parent is one that I have personal experience with. I am not sure this book would really be helpful in that particular situation. That being said, however, I think the concept of forgiveness is important, and one that is touched upon nicely in this title.
While I appreciate the additional materials at the end of the book, I think there was too much- a good 10% of this book was the supplemental material. Sometimes, fiction is best left as fiction. This author would do well with writing a longer self-help and introspective title on this subject.
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