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Book Review: One Extraordinary Day by Harold Myra

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Meet David – distressed, distraught, downtrodden and seeking decompression. With his career on shaky ground, tensions have mounted, and his emotions are close to boiling over. His wife Marcia has recommended a get-away, a time of relaxation – spend some time in nature, kick back and forget about work. This novella opens with David doing just that, spending time at the lake while striving to put his worries behind him.

Unfortunately putting his worries behind him is easier said than done. David stews in an emotional turmoil of his own making, mulling over the past, magnifying the significance of minor confrontations, holding grudges. The intrusion of an unusual stranger in David’s life not only disrupts his plans, but also permanently disrupts his perception of reality and God.

When the opportunity became available to review this book there was little information available on the internet about it. All blurbs were excruciatingly short, the reviews vague, telling nothing of the story line beyond the first chapter. Unfortunately that is because there is little story to be found. Essentially a work of Christian speculative fiction, the author seems to have based his work around this question – “What if an unbeliever met an angel from another world, another dimension?” This does sound like a fascinating premise, but after the first two chapters the initial intrigue and mystery fade away.

This angel or celestial – named Michael by David – plays the role of a spiritual mentor and teacher. Unfortunately some of his teachings are either based upon wild conjecture, such as his own origins, or is slightly off doctrinally. Thankfully the presentation of the Gospel message presented by Michael is sound. If nothing else I can hope that the message of hope and reconciliation with God will impact someone’s life, somewhere.

Normally an unusual premise and doctrine that is marginally erroneous fails to bother me in a work of fiction. In this case I'm bothered.  One Extraordinary Day reads like teaching fiction, fiction with a message it wants to express in an open and obvious way. Similar to The Celestine Prophecy or Ishmael (only Christian of course), the reader is left with the strong impression that certain spiritual truths are being taught and conveyed. In my opinion speculative fiction and teaching fiction do not make good bed mates, particularly in this title.

Myra seems to be pushing his writing hard for significance when there is little to be found. Despite this rather apparent striving, his writing skills are technically adequate. The only other fault in his writing technique is that he failed to involve me in the story. As a result of that failing I found this tiny volume, approximately 90 pages of text with wide margins, rather dull.

Due in part to the brevity of this work, I failed to emotionally engage with either of the main characters. After the initial curiosity passed, the rest of the read fell flat. Myra seemed about to pull off an ending that generated a warm cozy feeling, but then came short of the goal at the last moment. Sadly One Extraordinary Day has proven to me that not all tales exploring the theme of redemption and hope make for worthwhile reading.

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