Author Jan Cooper uses the fictitious life of protagonist Winston to challenge readers to evaluate their skills, talents, and dreams to bring about an “American renaissance…that will unite you with what God has called you to do.”
Sixteen-year-old Winston is overweight, lonely and suffers from low self-esteem. Sad and frustrated, Winston prays for a sign that God is real. Miraculously, a quirky angel named Tavett materializes in his room and encourages Winston to seek answers to the questions that trouble him, for “answers unsought are answers unheard and unremembered.”
The angel convinces “him that his life had meaning,” and Winston begins a 40-year long journey of self-examination. As the years pass, Winston regrets that he has veered off course and teams up with a “ragtag group of pool buddies, to affect humanity on a global scale” and bring about world peace.
Cooper’s motive for writing is clearly pure, but the book suffers from poor execution. The author writes from a cumbersome omniscient point of view, telling readers the internal thoughts and external movements of the characters, rather than utilizing descriptive action to immerse readers in a vivid world. For example, Cooper tells us that Winston is hurting and afraid, suffering “heavenly tribulation” but fails to show the actions that depict these struggles.
Additionally, the author’s almost exclusive adherence to dialogue becomes tedious. Oddly, he devotes an entire chapter to a one-sided dialogue of the disjointed thoughts running through Winston’s mind: “Why am I always afraid of failing?…School is stupid!…The stars are bright tonight…People are cruel everywhere.”
The author’s opening instructions to readers to “color each page border” so that “healing and transformations will start taking place” seems bizarre, and typographical errors abound.
Overall, the book feels like a vague, confusing tour through philosophies about life, hung loosely on a framework of characters merely talking to each other. It requires revision to reach an audience.
Also available as an ebook.