Donald’s Cross by Joseph Todd Emerson
Religion, same sex marriage, protest and politics slam against each other in a tangled mess of conspiracy, hidden agendas and supposed righteousness in Joseph Todd Emerson’s book, Donald’s Cross. This story follows a young man still in high school, Donald Ross, as he cames face-to-face with big questions about life and right and wrong. His friends are more focused on teenager issues and games and drugs, but Donald wants to know what life is really about. For that matter, as a preacher’s son, he starts praying to God on how to seek justice. Donald expects God to give him the answer, but he does finally take action on his own and joins an effort to make positives changes in his local community and potentially the world. Emerson portray’s Donald’s mother as a stereotypical preacher’s wife pressing her son to overlook his responsibilities at school and his teenage concerns to show more adult level respect and support of his father. Yet, Eric, Donald’s father, seems more open to Donald’s method of support and coming of age thoughts and questions. As Donald expands his personal self he expands his circle friends, too.
Overall, Donald’s Cross reads like a typical after school special from the 1980s filled with Christian beliefs from both sides of the same coin. The story has a powerful message, but the plot is very predictable. Those against same sex relationships pitted against those who support love, and in this case it happens to have two preachers and their sons truly at the core. Though Joseph Todd Emerson wrote the story fairly well, he fell short in really expressing the depth of most of the characters. Readers get only a shallow peek into the emotions and personalities of the characters other than Donald and his father, Eric. There is a lot left on the table that could have been explored on a much deeper level. There is little to keep readers turning pages or to hold their attention. And, in the end, the story, unfortunately, wraps up in way that is far from surprising. Though Emerson’s story, Donald’s Cross, will spur controversy as well as inspiration for some, others will be left feeling empty and unfulfilled by this simple storyline.
To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.