Christian - Fiction
394 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Jump by Michel Sauret is a thrilling story about a man’s search for meaning and a deep spiritual connection. Christopher grew up with rigorous religious training at home, one that was designed by his parents to lead him to please God, to achieve things for God, but after an accident in which he breaks his leg, things begin to change around him --- relationships, acceptance, love --- and he begins to ask very serious questions about God and life. He had hoped to find the answer in sex, in learning, and other avenues of pleasure, but everywhere he turns, he is faced with the same nagging emptiness and the unanswered questions that stir his spirits. It is not until he journeys with an atheist, a path that brought them to a church that feels like home in Selma, Alabama, that Christopher begins to feel a genuine connection, but for how long will this connection last?

Michel Sauret has the rare skills of storytelling and insightful thinking, a combination of gifts that readers will root for. Jump is more than a story that offers answers and, at times, readers will have to stop and ponder more on the questions raised by the characters than the answers they receive. Christopher is the kind of character that readers instinctively fall in love with, because he reminds them of their own journey of faith, their unanswered questions, and their desperate flights from reality. This is a book packed with wisdom and uplifting lessons for seekers. The author knows how to lead readers to ask serious questions about themselves without slowing the pace at all. This is a book that will teach, inspire, instruct, and empower readers to seek connections that matter; a story of love, hope, and daring faith.

Marta Tandori

Jump by Michel Sauret is a sensitive and thought-provoking work of Christian fiction that chronicles one boy’s journey into young adulthood while struggling to find his path emotionally and spiritually.

Christopher Dove is a young child of five when he’s first initiated by his fundamentalist Christian parents to measure his faith in God by jumping from an oak tree in his backyard which, from that point on, becomes an annual tradition. It’s the same year that his sister, Arminelle (“Nelle”) is born. The differences between Christopher and his sister are soon apparent to everyone as his father takes him to the pet store when his sister is a year-and-a-half old to buy her a shock collar used on dogs in order to control her destructive behavior. At nine, Christopher breaks his leg jumping from the tree and his father rationalizes his broken leg by stating that he had jumped without faith. Even the pastor of their church, The Disciples of God, appears to be questioning the strength of Christopher’s belief in God. As he becomes older, Christopher’s parents continue to dominate and control every facet of his development, with his every move being assessed as measures of his faith in God. His father even goes so far as to map out his future, telling Christopher that he will soon be putting in an offer on the grocery store that he currently manages and once Christopher is finished with Bible college, he will go work for his father as manager of the grocery store. Christopher begins to chafe under his domination and this eventually turns to distrust and distance when he inadvertently discovers his father hiding a pornographic magazine in his locker at work, which begins his own obsession with pornography and questions about his sexuality. Christopher finally rebels against his parents’ wishes when he applies to Pitt, a non-Christian university, and is accepted, resulting in his parents cutting him off financially.

Jump is divided into three sections which represent three segments in Christopher’s life; his developing years where he spends his entire youth trying to prove his faith in God to his father, his short stint at university where disillusionment about faith and life set in, and his journey and experiences in Selma, Alabama where Christopher alternates between despair, desperation and destruction. Despite the fact that this is Christian fiction, Sauret isn’t afraid to delve into some disturbing subject matter involving pornography, sexuality identity and hedonism. However, he does it in such a way that the issues of spirituality and faith are never far from the forefront. Disillusionment, spiritual love and acceptance are effectively counter-balanced by the concept of mega-ministries, cults and grass roots churches.

Sauret’s main protagonist, Christopher Dove, has a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage which makes for a compelling character. Jump is a story with heart and spirit – even when the spirits of its characters seem to be at their lowest points. The book also raises several questions: can a person be complete without faith and, more importantly, how far should one go in search of one’s faith? There don’t seem to be any ready answers to these questions nor does Sauret try to give us any. He merely puts them out there for our consideration – the rest is up to us.

Tshombye K. Ware

Jump by Michael Sauret is an interesting story that echoes the title itself in a metaphoric way. Unlike other children, on each birthday Christopher had to prove his faith to his parents and himself by climbing up in a tree and jumping down into his father's arms. To his parents, the jump itself was a show of faith. Each birthday he had to climb a little higher and repeat the act. The story continues as Christopher shares his journey and development in faith — branching out in the areas of life, church, and school. The days of his youth became a distant memory, a time in which his faith was pure and untainted. Now, life has taken him through an unpredictable phase in which his faith seemed like a fading cloud. When a drastic event happened in his family, his outlook on faith changed drastically.

I enjoyed the style in which the story was written. The author’s technique of delivering a heartfelt story is evident from page one until the end. You could feel Christopher’s emotional relationship with his family and friends, as if you knew them personally. I could relate to the story in an indirect way, which pushed me to read more. Christopher’s protective instinct and persistence brought the character to life. His development was gradual, but poignant. This is one of those stories that will touch you deeply and emotionally. There are so many messages wrapped up in the heartfelt story that you can take away with you after the last page is turned.