Review: Caught in the Winds by L.D. Wenzel
Age recommendation: Young adult, adult
Morrie Schiller is in Bethlehem College under the orders of his parents. Journalism is his interest, but he is forced to major in psychology instead. That is not the end of his problem. On the first day, he becomes infatuated with a girl who ends up using him again and again. He also wants to become a Roman Catholic, something that shocks all he confides this to. Then, one day, he meets Jack Joplin. Jack brings with him a strange philosophy that holds lofty promises. Morrie finds himself inexplicably drawn and caught in the web of Jack’s talk and ways. Soon, Jack brings him onto a dream-like journey transcending reality and into the supernatural.
This isn’t a raving review, but I’ll be doing my best not to be overly negative. The main reason why I couldn’t like Caught in the Winds is because many aspects seemed unrealistic. Something that immediately caught hold of my attention when I started on the book was the conversations. They were full, polite conversations and that made me want to shake the primness in the characters away.
Morrie’s longings to be a Catholic was strange, but faintly interesting. I’ve never encountered anyone with a longing to be a Catholic, more so with a vague reason. When his longings to become a Catholic was first mentioned in-depth, it seemed as if it stemmed from guilt. I read on, and as more of his Catholic longings were mentioned, I got confused as to the real reason behind his longing to be a Catholic. Was it because of a dream? Or because of guilt?
The first “romance” in Caught in the Winds is Morrie’s infatuation with Tracy (I’m putting romance in “” because I don’t think infatuation is in the romance category). I thought the whole thing was a farce and cringe-worthy. Many times, they behaved like a pair of teenagers with childish tendencies, rather than college students. Just the way Morrie fell for Tracy spoke volumes of his maturity. Morrie is the most immature character I’ve ever read in any book. This sounds harsh, but I got annoyed with his behavior less than 20 pages into the book.
I thought that it didn’t make sense the way Morrie shared personal details with Crusader almost immediately after meeting him for the first time. No one talks about their love interest and struggles to a person they have known for less than 15 minutes! How more unreal can an encounter be?
The author had told me that this is an unusual book in the Christian genre (not his exact words, I’m paraphrasing), but I wasn’t prepared with the way Protestants were portrayed. Denominations were highlighted. Protestant characters held those from other denominations in abhorrence. Most of the Protestant characters were either radicals, non-stop talkers about religious stuff, or they were drifting (on the verge of drifting for some) off-course from Christianity. I’m mentioning this here because I think that some Protestants will be offended by this (I did not take too kindly to this aspect myself). I really wished there was a Protestant character on the middle ground, which is where most of us are.
I’ve just listed a few points I noted here. I don’t want to drag Caught in the Winds in the mud anymore than I’ve done through this negative review. I wanted to like the book, but I just couldn’t. It’s difficult to like the book when the story and characters did not connect with me and seemed very unrealistic most of the time. How someone could be drawn into Jack’s play, I do not know and that puzzled me most of the book.
Morrie’s exploration and efforts to find himself made an interesting theme for a coming of age book. I was relieved when he had more maturity at the end of the book. Actually, the ending was okay, better than I had expected it to be. One thing, it definitely made me very interested to know what happened to Morrie when he faced his parents.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”