Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Book Review: "Passport"

Passport, a Novel
by Christopher Blunt
Pelican Crossing Press, 404 pages
Review by Ellen Gable Hrkach

From the back cover of Passport: “Stan Eigenbauer leads a comfortable life with his dog, season tickets to the Cubs, and a garage full of vintage hobby cars. When he meets a lovely young woman, he thinks he’s found the one thing that was missing: a passport to “heaven on earth.” But when a serious lapse in judgment changes everything, Stan must choose between the woman who loves him and the people who need him.”
Passport is the debut novel of author Christopher Blunt, who describes his book as a “coming-of-age story about a young Catholic man’s discovery of self-sacrificial love.”
At the beginning of the novel, we meet Stan, a likeable but somewhat shy and unassuming fellow. Stan is an average guy who is trying to live out his Catholic faith but who has not yet found a lifetime mate. Soon thereafter, Stan finds himself in the difficult and agonizing position of being torn between two women: one he cannot marry (but who needs him) and one who would be the ideal Catholic wife. Throughout the rest of the novel, we journey with Stan as he struggles to make choices, most of which, though painful for him, are selfless and moral.
Passport illustrates the growth of a man who strives to do the right thing, and shows that the struggle to live chastity does not end with marriage; it is simply lived out in a different way. Stan eventually comes to the realization that only in dying to ourselves can we truly love others and find meaningful happiness. It was a joy to read such an uplifting story in this day and age where self-centeredness is the norm.
I most strongly recommend Passport to Catholics in their twenties and thirties, although all people would find the story interesting. There are some romantic elements in the book but this is decidedly not a romance novel in any traditional sense. As a woman, I enjoyed reading a story from a man’s perspective, especially the inner workings of a man’s mind regarding chastity and natural family planning. The author does an excellent job of incorporating teachings on both the indissolubility of marriage and natural family planning without being preachy.
I would highly recommend Passport as it is easy to read, well-written and the characters are rich and well-developed. Blunt’s portrayal of family life is especially real, down to earth and believable.
Copyright 2008 Ellen Gable Hrkach

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