St Peter’s Brewery by Jonathan D Blundell is different. In a good way.
Before I tell you why let me first say that Jonathan is my friend and co-host on the Something Beautiful Podcast and he gave me an advance copy of the book.
That could have made this review a little awkward. At least it would have if the book wasn’t great!
I read it all in one sitting, unusual for me, and was drawn in to this story of Jimmy, a man who has withdrawn from life because engaging is just too painful.
Jimmy finds sanctuary in St Peter’s Brewery, the converted church where he now drinks alone. His only friend is the barman, Pete, who lends an ear when he wants to talk and knows when to leave Jimmy alone when he doesn’t.
Jimmy’s life is one that so many can relate to. Things haven’t gone well for him. Relationships have been broken, work has become a place to escape life rather than live it, life is empty and that’s just fine with Jimmy.
One of the joys of working with Jonathan on the Something Beautiful Podcast is his passion for people and for their stories of life and faith. He loves to let people talk, to share their own passions and to hear their experiences without rushing to comment or, as the church so often does, judge. There is something very beautiful about a story, a lived experience.
Jonathan brings that beauty to his first novel.
It is a story of community, sanctuary, redemption and forgiveness. Jimmy’s life is turned upside down by people, the very thing he’s tried to avoid for his whole adult life. A motley crew of the most unlikely people including a trucker, a bar tender, a postal worker and a hippy, show Jimmy that he is not alone and that God isn’t anything like he thought.
I like this book. A lot. Sure I could be critical about a couple of small parts that seem a little wedged in to make a point that Jonanthan is passionate about, but that would be picky and they don’t detract from the plot in any way.
Jonathan has approached the issues that surround people’s experience and perceptions of the church in a creative and sensitive way. People have been burned by religion. Every day people walk away from the ‘church’ because they don’t find the kind of sanctuary Jimmy craves and finds in St Peter’s Brewery. But every day people find hope and meaning and redemption and belonging in ‘church’.
Where’s your sanctuary? St Peter’s Brewery could be just the place. Mine’s a pint of St Peter’s Golden Revelation!
St Peter’s Brewery by Jonathan D Blundell is now available in print for $14.99 (24% off with code: 3YK4MGUP) and on Kindle for $12.64. (I don’t get any money from any sales, just in case you’re wondering!)