The book is the story of a 23 year old man, David Chambers. He is the member of a closely knit cult called the Eternal Fellowship who follow the Bible with a stricter interpretation than normal. They do not allow members to interact with other worldly humans as they are perceived as corrupted. They do not embrace modern technologies like Computers, TV, Politics, even makeup.
David is happy in his life and is not missing anything till he gets engaged to Ruth. David realizes he doesn’t love her and is put off by Ruth’s bossy attitude. Though Fellowship members are normally engaged for life, David decides to break it. He is boycotted by his family and the Fellowship.
Suddenly David is like fish out of water. He finds it difficult to adjust to wordly life. He is stumped by technology. Even simple things like newspaper and television are novelties. But, there is another motivation for David to break free. It’s his childhood crush on the beautiful, Alison Johnson who is not Fellowship, and therefore taboo.
David loves the freedom but is disillusioned by the attitudes of his new friends. He gets teased as he is not familiar with mundane matters like English football, computers, politics. Feeling inept at his new job, losing Alison to her ex-boyfriend, David again decides to go back to the Fellowship. He is even ready to marry another Fellowship member, the recently widowed Rebecca.
But the Fellowship puts in the condition, that David should marry Ruth to gain re-entry into the closed Fellowship.
This leaves David confused. He has a lot of soul searching to do in the book. But, it has been done in a straight forward, sometimes funny manner. There are no surprise twists and turns. David Chambers tries to fit into society, but then realizes he has too much Fellowship in him.
The story is also familiar in an Indian context. David and Ruth’s arranged marriage would hardly raise an eyebrow as it is still the norm. Also, families expelling their children who are going against family wishes is also familiar. But it is David’s soul searching and his childlike innocence which are the real plus point here. He forces you to look at the world with a different perspective. The story shows the pros and cons of both the Fellowship and the world in funny ways.
I love to read sagas and enjoyed reading the book. It is a light read with not many extreme emotions. Just go with the flow and enjoy the journey.