A debut Christian novel focuses on one man’s life in Ohio.
MacPherson’s story begins with John “Jack” Brown’s former secretary’s explaining how Jack began his career at the Intricate Stamping Company. Jack was only 17 years old when he started working for the company part-time in 1960. Harnessing his confidence, he rose through the ranks, going from the maintenance crew to sales to eventually owning the company. He would steer the organization through difficult times, and, in better days, he always remembered those who were loyal along the way. Jack was, in other words, a man who knew how to treat people fairly while also getting things done. And though he excelled in business, his personal life was not always so cheerful. His wife, Sarah, died at a relatively young age, and he continued to speak about her in the present tense for the rest of his life. Jack’s story is told by six women who knew him in different ways. His daughter, Katherine, recalls what it was like clothes shopping with her father, while one of Jack’s former girlfriends explains how he could diffuse a situation with a flash of his blue eyes. The stories about Jack culminate in the fact that, in his later years, he came to a very personal understanding about his relationship with Jesus. While the memories of Jack are spotted with the fantastical (Is it really possible for someone to alleviate a problem with a mere look?), readers come to know him as a character worth caring about. He may be a bit too perfect, but he still manages to give good advice, as when one character reflects on how Jack motivated her to excel in school: “Jack said if I started quitting now, I could look forward to a lifetime of quitting.” He is also someone who has suffered tragic loss as well as the awkwardness of buying underwear for his teenage daughter. Since readers are presented with a vivid and detailed portrait of Jack, they should find his ultimate Christian message inspiring. Jack may be a man with incredible drive, but he does not embrace Christianity until his later years. It is ultimately a transformation that is believable even if some of Jack’s exploits are not.
A religious tale that delivers a touching, if occasionally mystifying, character study.