I recently received a complimentary review copy of Simon’s Crossing by Charles William Asher and Dennis Patrick Slattery.
I enjoy biblical fiction and looked forward to reading about Simon of Cyrene, the man who is most remembered for carrying the cross of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. Very little is known about Simon, his family or his background. This book is the work of the authors’ imaginations of what might have happened and is based loosely on the scriptural accounts of the crucifixion and the days leading up to Jesus’ death.
While reading this book I had to keep in mind that this is a work of fiction.
Some of the story didn’t make sense nor did it appear to flow with the main storyline. As an example, part of the story reads that as Simon is following Jesus and carrying his cross, an old woman offers a cup of wine to Jesus. He stops, drinks half of the cup and then turns and offers the rest to Simon. I could not logically picture Jesus doing this as he barely had the strength to walk or carry his cross, much less stop and participate in such a socialized manner.
I also did not understand the inclusion of the many sexual references and innuendos between Simon and his wife which took me by surprise especially since this title is being marketed as Religious Fiction.
Up until the chapter where Simon’s wife dies and is no longer a viable character, there are suggestions of sexual acts between the two which quite frankly, made me uncomfortable. Granted – they are married and sex is a vital part of marriage but the way it was written and described was a bit distasteful for my preferences.
Readers need to be aware that this book’s subject matter should be rated “M” for mature.
What I liked about the book was that it stretched my imagination of why Simon happened to be in Jerusalem and was chosen to carry the cross for Jesus. It also made me think deeper about how difficult the walk to Golgotha really was for Jesus and what he must have endured mentally and physically as he took his last steps to die for humanity. No doubt that while he was suffering in his body, he was focused on those who ultimately would be saved by his sacrifice.
I am most likely not the intended target audience for this book and so my opinion will differ from others who read this and find it to be a brilliant account of may have happened in Simon’s life.
I do wish that some of the violent scenes of brutality (including rape and murder) were left out, even though that was a part of the Roman culture during that time period.
I think the story could have been told with much the same impact, even if the authors left out the graphic descriptions.
Please visit Operation Read Bible to read another detailed review of this book. It's listed in her "June 2010" book reviews.