A review by
Rutherford Card. Johnson
I have had very little time for discretionary reading these days, so when I not only read a book, but call it a page turner, that ought to say something. That is precisely what I would call A Time To... by Ronald Louis Peterson. The novel claims to be a baby boomer's spiritual journey, and it is just that. But, the message is one that ought to resonate with every man, woman, and child, no matter what their age.
A Time To... tells the story of Al Masterson, a man working in the World Trade Center on that fateful September 11th in 2001. He is trapped in the building, close to death, and is mysteriously taken on a journey of his whole life. It begins when he is a young boy who just moved to New York from Kentucky and continues on through being a Peace Corps volunteer to a media professional. He experiences many ups and downs, and even some personal crises and tragedies. He goes through several tries at self-discovery. As he progresses through his life, he becomes acutely aware of the deeper meaning of everything he experienced. Even those terrible times in his life turned out to be mechanism for spiritual growth that helped to make his life better. Al learns that what seems bad at one particular moment in time may actually have a greater purpose according to God's plan. We cannot hope to understand the vast magnitude of that plan, and thus must go forward in faith. This is the lesson that Al learns.
As the story progresses, Al comes back to the present time, where he is still trapped in the World Trade Center. I will not give away the interesting ending, as that would truly spoil the book. However, suffice it to say that he finds through the spiritual journey he took just what a great, wonderful, and positive impact his life experiences have had, not just on himself, but on those whose lives he has touched in ways he did not even know.
Ronald Louis Peterson drew on his own experience growing up in New York, working as a Peace Corp volunteer in Ethiopia, and as a media and public affairs professional. This gives the book a great deal of realism. Also, the novel is filled with historical facts from the various periods of Al Masterson's life. While some younger readers might not know about all of these events, I do not believe this detracts from the message of the story at all. Whether young or old, and no matter where you are in your own faith journey, A Time To... will speak to your heart.