A family struggle and a question of man’s place in the universe take center stage in author Allison Floyd’s A Wider Universe. Here is a synopsis:
Gene Shepherd, still grieving his wife’s death, alone in his home after his daughter moves in with her good-for-nothing boyfriend, has grown
accustomed to a life of solitude. When he gets a series of unexpected visits from bible-toting Patrick Frye, a young man on a personal crusade
for Jesus, Gene must confront not only the pushy young missionary, but the painful past he has been quietly suppressing.
Gene’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Chelsea Shepherd, caught in a destructive relationship, finds herself at a crossroads in her life, unsure of
her future, as well as her present. One night, after an argument turns violent, Chelsea flees from her relationship and finds solace, safety,
and an unexpected friendship with Swedish college professor Alexander Jansson. Both Gene and Chelsea must face choices and challenges that will
guide them towards their places in the world with the help of some unexpected characters and a major test of faith. A Wider Universe is a story
of family, redemption, and one man’s discovery that even the loneliest man is not truly alone.
Now I won’t lie to you guys: when I first started to read this book, I was worried it was going to be a very religious oriented outlook on the
story. For those of you who don’t know, I myself am not religious, and while I personally believe we should respect everyone’s right to
believe or not believe whatever they want, I myself do not enjoy or respond to religious based stories. However as I continued to read,
I found myself surprised and happy. I identified greatly with one of the main protagonists, Gene, as his personality felt very similar to my own.
His confrontation with Patrick and the frustration that comes with dealing with overly aggressive religious people is something I can relate to,
and so I found myself drawn into this story more and more.
This story really showcased a fresh, young voice in the literary world. Other than a few grammatical errors, the only piece of advice I would
share with the author is that at times, this story utilizes the show vs. tell story-telling device. What this means is that at times the writing
goes into too much detail, and could benefit from some editing to leave a little bit to the readers imagination. Other than this, the
story is well thought out and is a modern drama story that deserves to be told. The struggle for Chelsea is an all too common issue that young
women must face, and the loneliness that comes with loss is a theme that drives into the emotional core of the reader. Overall this is a
fantastic read, and I give this story an 8/10 rating. If you haven’t yet, please be sure to pick up your copies of A Wider Universe by Allison