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Book review: The Baggage Handler, by David Rawlings

Book review: The Baggage Handler, by David Rawlings

Book review: The Baggage Handler, by David Rawlings

6 July 2019

Photo: Belinda Fewings

Reviewed by Jessica Morris

We’ve all picked up our luggage from an airport terminal but few of us have paused to ponder what our ‘baggage’ really looks like. 

In this introspective debut from David Rawlings, born into a Salvation Army family, we are presented with the stories and baggage of three distinct people.

From the outset, it seems that weary mother Gillian, workaholic father David, and star athlete Michel have little in common except for the black suitcases they mistake as their own, but after meeting the illusive ‘Baggage Handler’ we see they are all bound by something much weightier and toxic than first appears.

By characterising three commonly held inner-beliefs in his characters, the author asks us to consider the role they play in our own lives; whether that be the toll that betrayal and unforgiveness has on our marriage and health, the way comparison robs us of joy, or the manner in which unsolicited beliefs or pressure from our family line keep us from chasing our true purpose.

The process of recognising, identifying and taking ownership of our ‘baggage’ is complicated, but by explaining this allegorically we see practical consequences that are very real-to-life depending on how we overcome them in ourselves.

This novel isn’t an obviously religious book, but once you realise that the ‘Baggage Handler’s’ physical attributes, words and spirit closely resemble Christ, it has the potential to become an inheritably spiritual experience that is accessible to the masses.

This is a brave and honest debut through Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

Available at Angus and Robertson, Apple and at amazon.com

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