About the Book
Title: Leaving Darkness
Author: Greg Schaffer
Genre: Christian Fiction
Release date: October 31, 2018
Long-haul truck driver Lowell Ferguson is on the brink of suicide. He is haunted by the guilt of a horrible secret from his senior year of high school. Therapy and antidepressants aren’t able to lift him out of depression. At twenty-eight years old, he believes his life has dissolved into a meaningless annoyance. Only the strong bond with his lone friend—a Chihuahua named Rufus—keeps him from choosing death. But when Lowell learns Rufus may have cancer, he fears there will be no reason left to live if his beloved dog dies.
While awaiting the diagnosis, he comes across a flier for a Christian support group promising hope and freedom. A skeptic and an apatheist, he nonetheless reluctantly decides to join the group. Through this joining, he finds what he has been yearning for—a path toward leaving the darkness of depression. This first step provides Lowell the courage to do what he must to escape his guilt and finally confront his past.
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This is a good story about the healing that can come about through small group ministries expressing the love of Jesus.
Schaffer has included some interesting issues in this novel. One is asking forgiveness for an incident when the offended person has long moved past the event. Lowell wanted to set right the past offense with which he struggled so much. His sister asks him if what Lowell wants to do is just for his own purposes, a selfish act that might bring back hurt for the other person. Something for each of us to think about.
Another issue concerns the choices we make in life. Lowell had anticipated a college football scholarship and a professional career but an injury prevented it. While Lowell struggled with depression and isolation, he ultimately began making healing choices. His close friend from high school set the accumulation of money and prestige as his goal in life. He made choices to that end and we see the ultimate fruit of his life too.
Schaffer's writing style is not sophisticated. The characters are regular people working through the daily struggles in their lives. There is just a hint of suspense and a touch of romance and the ending seemed a little to convenient to me. Nonetheless, the novel is a good one about healing that can happen when Jesus comes into a person's life and a group of people care for each other.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
Greg Schaffer participated in a small Christian-based group ministry in 2011 and became a facilitator with the ministry to help others find their direction toward a purposeful life. His firsthand experiences of lives transformed through such healing groups led him to write Leaving Darkness, hoping the tale of transformation through God’s grace may encourage those lost in their own darkness to reach out for help. The author of two previous novels, Greg lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife and three rescue dogs.
Guest Post from Greg
As first a group participant and then a volunteer for Restore Small Groups for many years, I’ve seen firsthand the healing power of small group ministries. Many want to change but don’t know how. Leaving Darkness tells the fictional story of one lost in depression to the point of contemplating suicide who happens upon such a Christian-based ministry. Although he is reluctant at first, he gives the process a chance, and through it leaves his darkness, finds his faith, and becomes the person God meant for him to be. I was called to write this story in hope that someone with similar struggles may read Leaving Darkness and realize that there is a way out of the darkness when everything else has failed.
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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.