I am scared of heights. Maybe it’s the distance from the ground, maybe it’s the acute feeling of vulnerability what makes climbing up the stairs of a lookout or church tower a real challenge for me. I love to fly and grew up with my friends actually in the branches of the trees, but no one ever forced me to jump down. The main character of Jump, Christopher, cannot say the same, though.
This Christian novel is following life three stages of Christopher – his growing up, adolescence and I would say the first years of adulthood, although these parts of the book are named after the places of main character’s jumps. These jumps are meant to prove his faith in God and his own value to the family and church members. Christopher is experiencing fear, disappointment and doubts about himself throughout the years. To all of you who are expecting happy ending: it seems there are more important lessons in life than happy reunions.
In some ways it reminded me A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. There is a young man, stigmatized by his parents‘ approach to Christianity, especially faith in God. There are manipulative people, issues with different kind of relationships, sexuality and abuse. Although Jump is not so tragic and dramatic, it doesn’t mean its storyline is always easy to read. I’m not sure why exactly, but it took me 5 days to finish it and I liked it a lot, but surely enough there were chapters when I felt like not reading them RIGHT NOW, so I wouldn’t ruin my mood/evening. In general, it’s a polemical piece about how our experiences shape us, affect our decisions and what’s God position in all between. Should Christopher follow God or will He follow Christopher? It simply makes you think, not only about God, but about your life, so you don’t have to be a believer to enjoy this novel.
The biggest surprise for me was probably the last part of Jump, where Michel wasn’t afraid to go deeper with his criticism regarding twisted representing of the faith, corrupted churches and fake believers. I should add that several chapters at the end of this novel left me with goosebumps. Sure, the whole story line has its own feel of creepiness in a way of stories that are told, Christopher’s experiences and so on. But this is one of those books which are waiting for you to pick them up again and once you do it, the plot twist makes you stare in the wall, whispering “What…!”
So as said, if you decide to grab this recently released novel, be ready for some heart-wrenching moments, lots of questioning, philosophizing and preaching. I am convinced that all readers can enjoy such a well-written piece, no matter whether they are believing in God or not. It doesn’t impose anything, on the contrary!
PS: Bonus points for acknowledgements, which are beautiful and not just a name list. Plus, there are even words of gratitude for us, readers! Not to be mean, but how often does it actually happen?..
Note: I received this book in NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.