From the start, I will admit that getting into the story of Will Wonders Never Cease required something of a miracle and a wonder for me. It’s not that the story is bad – it is very well-written and most of the time quite compelling. Rather, my problem was that this story was that it is told from the perspective of a 15-year-old. I’ve never really liked 15-year-olds, even when I was 15. (Especially not when I was 15.) But it is precisely this aspect of the story, the part that I initially liked the least, that reveals something interesting and, I think, important.
When the protagonist of this story, Kyle Hooper, finds himself and his car buried in an avalanche, he actually embarks on two separate but linked plot lines. He determines that he needs to dig himself out of the snow to escape to freedom, and in so doing undertakes another journey without really intending to. In something that is more akin to “deathbed repentance” or possibly the Kübler-Ross model of grieving than it is to religious conviction or soul-searching, Kyle begins to call on God for assistance in his efforts to escape. Normally quite a miscreant and troublemaker, as Kyle reveals through his own memories, Kyle makes promises to the God he is not certain that he believes in, to be a better and reformed person if he survives.
Now, seldom, if ever, does real conversion occur from a moment of epiphany, and even less so through “deathbed confession.” Though many may be tempted to believe otherwise, true conversion requires some amount of faith that precedes the miracle. That, and a desire to change, and patterns of behaviour that build up a new nature in that person.
And this is where the protagonist’s 15-year-old mindset is so instructive.