A young man pedals thousands of miles through the Eastern American landscape and his spiritual doubts to find himself and his Lord as he navigates the natural world, man-made roadways and many good people plus a few bad in THE FOREST TABERNACLE.
In 1986 at the age of 21, author Patrick D. Milroy set out on a bicycle trip from Ontario, Canada to Florida. That alone could have served as an interesting memoir, especially because Milroy writes with a crisp prose style that nicely evokes the struggles, scenes and joys of his two-wheeled endeavor and glides the story along with an engaging efficiency. Enhancing this tome further is how the trip was also a spiritual journey struck by trauma about halfway through.
An admirable sense of honesty matched with true human humility imbues Milroy – a chiropractor and public speaker – with a likability that quickly woos the reader to ride alongside him. It also makes the real and analogous bumps and tumbles he experiences as well as the one big proverbial crash into the evil that men can do more negotiable for readers. His resolute ability to travel on towards his destinations and goals, even after suffering a shocking encounter,
At its core, THE FOREST TABERNACLE is about a crisis – nay crises – of faith. Raised Roman Catholic, Milroy’s relationship with his religion becomes fraught with questions and doubts as he reaches adulthood. Bible passages begin each chapter and churches both beckon and make him wary along his TK-day, more than 2,000-mile trip. Even those who eschew religion should be able to find his Christianity palatable and relate to his search for selfhood. Many people of faith will likely find familiar and compelling threads. Even skeptics should get the feeling that it’s something very real for Milroy (and not some delusion) when the author recounts God (via Jesus) talking to him.
And the book’s appeal goes well beyond the realm of spirituality. Milroy’s early peddling and coasting through what’s called the “endless mountains” of Northern Pennsylvania delivers a nice pastoral opening. The good, kind and generous people he meets and interacts with along the way far outweigh the bad. And the very occasional stray punctuation and misspelling in the book don’t detract from how well the author tells his story (we all can use a good proofreader… and should).
Seekers, cyclists, those who struggle with faith, travelers, fans of both the forest as well as roads traveled or not, campers and Catholics can find their interests in THE FOREST TABERNACLE and enjoy a rewarding ride.
~Rob Patterson for IndieReader