War Room – Chris Fabry

War Room by Chris Fabry
Published by Tyndale on August 4, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Christian
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three-stars

Juggling motherhood and her job as a real-estate agent, Elizabeth Jordan wishes her husband could help more around the house. But Tony's rising career as a pharmaceutical salesman demands more and more of his time. With a nice home in the suburbs and a lovely young daughter, they appear to have it all--yet they can't seem to spend time together without fighting.

Hoping for a new listing, Elizabeth visits the home of Clara Williams, an elderly widow, and is both amused and uncomfortable when Clara starts asking pointed questions about her marriage and faith.

But it's Clara's secret prayer room, with its walls covered in requests and answers, that has Elizabeth most intrigued . . . even if she's not ready to take Clara's suggestion that she create a prayer room of her own. As tensions at home escalate, though, Elizabeth begins to realize that her family is worth fighting for, and she can't win this battle on her own. Stepping out in blind faith, putting her prayers for her family and their future in God's hands, might be her only chance at regaining the life she was meant for.

The Kendrick Brothers have become the kings of Christian filmmaking in recent years. While Fireproof probably will stand as their standout hit, their other movies and the subsequent novelizations have been strong and enjoyable movies and books. War Room is a solid addition to that, but, for me, it wasn’t quite the caliber I’ve come to expect.

The plot runs like this: Tony and Elizabeth Jordan appear to be living the American dream. But realities are deceiving. Tony’s sales job takes him away from the family and, frankly, he’s starting to like it that way. But even with a great job, finances are still problematic. The two combined have led to a marriage war where their daughter is a POW.

But something happens when Elizabeth is introduced to Miss Clara, a prayer warrior looking to get rid of her old and empty home. Clara encourages her to fight for her marriage instead of against her husband and introduces her to the concept of a War Room—a closet dedicated as a place of prayer.

As Elizabeth’s life starts to come together, Tony’s life is falling apart. Temptations, both financial and extramarital, are coming against him strong and he seems powerless. But there’s a powerful woman defending him in the War Room.

Ultimately, War Room is a story of the transforming power of prayer and how it can change an entire family. It’s a strong, solid plot but wavers on execution. We get the sense that Tony’s life is falling apart, we get the idea that something’s wrong at work (which is later confirmed), and we get one scene of extramarital temptation. Fabry never gets into the nitty-gritty of details. You don’t really feel the danger. You don’t really understand why he’s succumbing to temptation. You aren’t really told enough of his story to identify with it or react against it.

The same thing goes with Elizabeth, though her characterization is stronger. Her change in life seems too easy and too instantaneous, and maybe that might be the story of some people’s conversion, but in a fictional story it honestly seems kind of cheap. There’s no real tension there that the reader feels.

Other than this, War Room goes through the typical clichés. You know the ending before the beginning is done. I don’t know if this is Fabry’s fault or not. I’ve loved all his books and his last novelization (The Song) was incredible. It remains to see if the movie version brings out the emotions and character depth the novelization was unable to achieve.

three-stars

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