Big changes befall the sleepy town of Timber Lake, Mich., in a novel about ordinary people who try to achieve extraordinary goals after a local man finds God during a night of heavy drinking.
After an inebriated revelation, Cooper Moon sets out to build a church in the woods behind his trailer, with no money or education to ease his way. But what he lacks in biblical literacy and financial resources, he makes up for in charisma and blind faith. With the help of the young neighborhood troublemaker, TJ, who has set his sights on winning a network television competition, World Wide Warrior, Cooper navigates new religious and spiritual territory and makes key changes in his own life. He quits drinking, swearing and cheating on his ever-patient wife, Sally. Amid a memorable cast of characters—including cunning lovers, resentful husbands and a skeptical pastor—determined to throw him off his righteous track, Cooper traverses the precarious path to fulfilling his newfound vision. The plot crescendos when TJ goes off to compete in World Wide Warrior, the pastor unexpectedly revives his own faith, and spiteful supporting characters find creative ways to meddle in Cooper’s life even as he delivers a unforgettable, climactic sermon. At its core, this is a story about class, karma and ordinary people trying to accomplish difficult goals that require extraordinary strength of body, mind and spirit. Cooper contemplates his calling to build a church: “I’m broke. I’ve never even read the Bible….Why wouldn’t God just give this same idea to a rich guy who knows the Bible?” In an attempt to answer his own question, Cooper considers Moses: “God could have parted the sea before they ever got there and made a clear path for them. But he didn’t. He didn’t part the sea until they stepped into it.” And indeed, this novel suggests that hope, good humor and moral fortitude are keys to realizing one’s dreams. Packed with biblical analysis and pop-philosophy, this book has a strong, engaging voice that encourages readers to reflect on their own calling.
A satisfying, feel-good novel about human shortcomings, perseverance and serendipity.