Monday, August 16, 2010

Awakening by Claudia Cangilla McAdam

I recently read the inspirational, Crossroads in Time story: Awakening by Claudia Cangilla McAdam.  This story is about a teenaged girl, Ronnie, who comes from a devout,religious Catholic background.  While many modern readers may find it difficult to relate to the extremely religious background depected in the story, it does not detract from the storyline, nonetheless. For example, the heroine is a girl who attends a private Catholic school, participates as an altar server, and identifies with the apostle, known as the doubting Thomas from the bible- as she sincerely seeks to understand why Jesus sacrificed his life.  Furthermore, she has a mom who reads religious books, prays the rosary as well as to the "blessed Mother", and reminds her daughter of the importance of celebrating the "Easter Triduum". Nevertheless, there are universal themes as well: Ronnie represents an average American teenager- a girl who participates in sports, notices boys, feels self conscious about her appearance, experiences sadness and as well as seeking social acceptance from friends. 

In a "dream", Ronnie finds herself suddenly transported back in time to 33AD Palestine, becomming a witness as well as a participant in the last days of Jesus' life.  It is as if Ronnie is transpotred to a parallel universe where she, as well as her mom, friends and neighbors have corresponding roles and lives in ancient Jerusalem. Instead of being a devout Catholic, Ronnie is a devout Jew.  Rather than having the stigma of Eczema, Ronnie is considered to be an unclean outcast inflicted with Leprosy.  The description of ancient Palestine 2000 years ago is vivid.  The sights, sounds and even smells are described in detail.   The reader gets an idea of what the socio- cultural lives may have been like for those living in the time of Jesus. Descriptions of Holy Days, the pharisees, the Temple, social traditions as well as the teachings of Jesus are true to the details as told by the New Testament of the bible! The last days of Jesus on this earth are brought to life, through the vision of a teenaged heroine.

Ronnie's own mission at first is to intervene and stop the Jesus from being crucified. Throughout the story, there are some suprising ways that Ronnie's life becomes intertwined with common historical events and figures from the bible.  Near the end of the book, Ronnie learns that her purpose in traveling back into time is not to change God's plan, and in faith she comes to  believe in God's greater plan for forgiveness and salvation.  Although this book is written from a Catholic perspective, this in no way detracts from the story whatsoever.  This story can be appreciated by any Christian reader familiar with the bible, regardless of denomination as well as a secular/ non-religious reader as well. Sophia Institute Press sent me a complimentary copy of this book for me to review.

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