Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Final Summit, By Andy Andrews

Not only is David Ponder a 74-year-old multi-millionaire, he's also a Traveler... as in Time-Traveler.
That doesn't mean he's not desperately lonely and completely miserable when his wife dies after 49 years of marriage.
He's sitting on his 55-story-high porch, thinking back over what has happened over the years, wondering again what exactly is the point of it all, when the Archangel Gabriel appears, summoning him once more.

This time, all the Travelers are coming, to examine all the wisdom of the past and determine the future of mankind - by answering 1 question. That question is,
What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?

s is their assignment - and they have only five chances to present the correct answer to the Archangel and save the world. Their only clues? They have been given everything they need to know the answer, and the answer is only two words.

First of all, I should say that this isn't the type of book I'd read if I saw it in a bookstore. But because of the reviews I'd read of it, I decided to try it. It is a sequel, but I actually think I liked it better than I would have had I read the other book first. :)
And, overall, I enjoyed it.

The idea was simply intriguing... and Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Joan of Arc all together in one place was just plain fun. The sarcastic exchanges between Gabriel and Churchill was also slightly hysterical... as was the thought of Thomas Edison being afraid of the dark, or of Albert Einstein being the only one willing to argue with him.

Besides being just plain fun and enjoyable, different conversations were absolutely fascinating, such as the discussion of "chance." The earth revolves 366 times while circling the sun once - and is 366% larger than the moon. The moon takes 27.32 days to circle the earth - and is 27.32% the size of the earth. It is also 400 times smaller to the sun, and 400 times closer to the earth than it is to the sun - and turns at a speed of 400 kilometers an hour. Chances of that? No clue, but it's pretty impressive. :)

There were a couple things that bothered me. First of all, God's name was rather flippantly used several times. Not only was that irritating to me as a Christian, but even as a writer, despite the story's obviously made up setting, I had a hard time imagining that at the very least Christians who had already died would not be treating His name with the utmost respect and reverence.
Also, the rules surrounding the Summit seemed pointless, especially considering that eventually they were completely thrown out. This bugged me, because God doesn't do pointless. He never gives a command without a reason, and even in a fantasy (or whatever this would be shelved under... it says under 'self-help' on the back... lol), God's character should not be changed.

However, I actually finished the book having thought up my own answer, and rather disappointed that I would not be able to ask Gabriel myself if I was right. :P Which means that I really got into the story...
and it got me thinking, something I always love in a book. It took me a while to understand why they come up with the answer they did... but the answer they came up with, while I'm not wholly sold on it
(I admit it. I'm in love with words. Two words would never be enough to stop humanity's downward crash. I'd have to explain and clarify and... this was supposed to be a 200 word book review, you know. I think Gabriel would be no longer speaking to me... probably why I haven't been invited on any time-traveling missions lately...)
is actually something God has been bringing to my attention over and over lately...
and so,

If only for that reason, I recommend that you read this book. What do YOU think is the answer that question?

I will end with the quote that made me glad I read the book. This is "from" Joan of Arc, and I absolutely loved it.

"What is the proof of hope?"
"That you breathe. For if you are breathing, then you are still alive. And if you are still alive, that means you haven't accomplished what you were placed on earth to do. If you haven't accomplished what you were put on earth to accomplish, this signifies that your life's very purpose has yet to be fulfilled. If your very purpose has yet to be fulfilled, that is proof that the most important part of your life remains ahead of you!
Don't you see? If the most important part of your life is in the future, then it doesn't matter how fearful or depressed you might feel, or how penniless you might be. By the virtue of the fact that you still draw breath, there is more to come. There is more laughter and learning... more victories. There is more. This is the proof of hope, monsieur."

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

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