Richard Paul Evans (Adult Inspirational)
Alan Christoffersen had it all: a successful advertising agency, a big house, luxury cars, and a beautiful wife who was the love of his life. But a horrible accident would set off a series of events that would send his world crashing down. Within weeks, he would lose everything and Alan Christoffersen, the man who had everything, was suddenly left with nothing. It seemed that even God had abandoned him. So, Alan decided to walk away from his troubles…literally. With nothing more than a backpack and a few essentials, Alan set off on a near 3,500 journey stretching from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida hoping that this walk might bring him some clarity to a life that didn’t make sense anymore.
I’ve read many What-would-you-do-if-type books: What would you do if you could live forever? What would you do if you had one wish? Go back in time? Trade places with someone? Were invisible? This one was different. Tackling the idea of how to move forward after you’ve lost everything is daunting. Alan faced this situation, questioned his own faith, and wondered why love, hope, and grace had been so mercilessly taken from him.
The Walk is the first in a series of five books in The Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans. This first installment takes Alan all the way across the state of Washington: from Seattle to Spokane. During this first leg of his journey, he meets several people who remind him what kindness, generosity, and gratitude look like: a handless man looking for answers, a scarred woman offering hope, an innkeeper who faced death, and a stranger returning a favor. Each person along his journey offers Alan little bits of wisdom and insight and their brief presence in his life leaves him undeniably changed.
The Walk is an easy and quick read. Evans deals with religion and faith without being overly preachy and gives us a likeable protagonist who seeks the good in humanity although he himself has been betrayed by those he had trusted most. In the opening pages, we know Alan completes his walk and eventually reaches Key West, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” and we know that Alan has a very long journey ahead of him. A journey that will hopefully answer some of his questions and perhaps even restore his faith.
Alan keeps a diary of his walk. In one entry, he wrote, “We truly do not know what’s in a book until it is opened.” Likewise, we often don’t know what’s in a person until we ask or until we have the opportunity to get to know them. We don’t know their past, the burdens they may carry, or the pain they may be enduring. The few people that Alan encountered during his walk through Washington began as unopened books, but by extending a kindness or even just a simple greeting, those books began to open and Alan discovered that perhaps the love, hope, and grace that he thought had been denied him had never really abandoned him after all.
*Book cover image attributed to www.goodreads.com
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