The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart - Reviewed

Monday, March 12, 2018

 About the book:

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?
Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on--with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they're shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he's changed. Radically.
His anger is gone. He's oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he's been but knows he's been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he's been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.
But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside--like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury--and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.
In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us--and one man's only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

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About James L. Rubart

Becoming a Novelist
On the lake - James Rubart - When I was ten my biggest dream was to be a novelist. It was fueled by reading The Chronicles of Narnia, and from my story being chosen to be acted out and filmed in my 7th grade English class.

But in eighth grade the dream took a major hit. I took journalism class (loved it) and at the end of the year tried out for the school paper. Didn’t get chosen. Rejected. In that moment I buried the dream and listened to a lie that sank its claws deep into my heart: “You can’t write.”

What about you? What lie have you believed about your life? What the truth is there is a strength in you you might not realized. A destiny you were born for that you need to step into.

My lie? I believed it for decades. But the dream refused to die. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest magazine. I dabbled in short stories. In my 20s I even went to a few one-day writing seminars. But I never showed my writing to anyone.

The Dream Comes Alive

Then in 2002, my wife announced she was going on a fast. Why? She didn’t know. How long? Same answer. After two and a half days a light bulb exploded over my head as I rode next to my wife in our car.
I felt God say, “I’ve given you the skill and desire to write, when are you going to step into your destiny?”
I turned to Darci and said, “I know why you’re fasting. I’m supposed to be a novelist.”

She stared at me and said, “I’m hungry for three days, and you get the answer?”

We both burst into laughter. It was the perfect response to lighten a moment where I had to make a serious decision. Would I choose to step in? The obvious answer is yes. I dove in full-force to writing my first novel (ROOMS) and finished it in late ’05.

I won’t bore you with the details of how it was rejected and ultimately purchased (in early summer 2008) so suffice it to say it took significant perseverance and belief. That’s why, whatever your dream is, I encourage you to keep pressing into your dreams. Reject the lie and embrace the truth that you have a role, a purpose that only your can fulfill.

You can visit James at

My Thoughts:

Mr. Rubart's new book, The Man He Never Was, is a retelling of  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I believe I read the novella as a freshman in high school, which was a long time ago. If you are not familiar with the story the basic premise is good vs. evil.

One of the reasons I enjoy novels by James Rubart is because there is always an element of the supernatural, with God as good, and satan as evil, and his new book is no different.
I read a lot of historical romance with a female character as the heroine. It's refreshing to have a male character at the lead, and Mr. Rubart writes a male character that not only pulls on the heart strings of women readers, they are able to identify with the inward battle that he creates for his characters.

Toren is a broken man in lots of ways, I can't tell you or I'll ruin your experience, he knows he is and wants to rid himself of the anger that is holding him captive but he's not really sure how to do it.

We all can identify with Toren and the inner battle that he is going through, mainly because at one time or another we've been him. The cast of characters that Mr. Rubart adds to this story are both supportive and aide Toren through the darkest moments of his life.

My Bottom Line:

This book is a fast-paced thrill ride that starts at the first sentence and doesn't let up until you read the last one. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. When I finished the book last night, rather early this morning, I felt as if I had just spent time listening to the testimony of someone older and wiser than myself. I walked away from this book with lessons. While there are quite a few the one that I can't stop thinking about is when Eden asks Toren what the father in the parable of the prodigal son says to the son about his great sin when he comes home. He says nothing, he never addresses it. In all my years of being in the church that is the first time I realized that God says nothing about our sin, and that is grace.
This is a must read!

You can read about the inspiration for this story here.


2 Responses to “The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart - Reviewed”
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Ah, Andi! So glad you liked The Man He Never Was! And thanks for your wonderful review and support.

I loved it!! It is my favorite book of the year so far. You are welcome, Jim! Thanks for stopping by!

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