Four in the Garden (Hocker)

Four in the Garden 
Rick Hocker, 2014
Hocker Press
342 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780991557707

An unusual retelling of the Garden of Eden story, Four in the Garden is a thought-provoking allegory of one's relationship with God. In this spiritual fantasy, Creator makes only one human, named Cherished. Instead of creating a second human to be a companion to Cherished, Creator desires to fill that role. Can this relationship work?

This inspirational book challenges the reader to trust in God because trust is the means by which we are transformed. To aid contemplation and spiritual growth, Four in the Garden is divided into short thematic chapters.

Author Bio
Birth—December 2, 1960
Where—Oakland, California, USA
Education—B.S., California Polytechnic State University
Currently—lives in Martinez, California

Rick Hocker is a game programmer and artist. In 2004, he sustained a back injury that left him bed-ridden in excruciating pain for six months, followed by a long recovery. He faced the challenges of disability, loss of income and mounting debt. After emerging from this dark time, he discovered that profound growth had occurred. Three years later, he had a dream that inspired him to write his book, Four in the Garden. His intent was to illustrate one's growth toward deep communion with God and to share the insights he gained from the personal transformation that resulted from his back injury. (From the author.)

Visit the author's website.
Follow Rick on Facebook.

Book Reviews
"Four in the Garden is a well-told and inspired tale about learning to trust in God. A spiritual message - complete with action, suspense, mystery, and some unforgettable characters and spectacular imagery. I believe that it may be destined to be a modern-day classic, alongside the works of C.S. Lewis, Hannah Hurnard, and other great authors.”
—Shauna McFadden, Long Beach, CA

“Not often does a writer appear on the literary scene with such an unforgettable story as Four in the Garden. A beautifully written, emotionally fulfilling read.”
—Sue Clark
Award winning writer of Is Anybody Listening

“Awesome Book! Well written and thought provoking! CS Lewis meets Eckart Tolle meets George Lucas.”
Anthony L. Sawyer, Eugene, OR

“How fortunate I feel to have stumbled onto this remarkable, beautifully written and immensely thought provoking book. I found myself highlighting sections and quotes, often rereading them because they were so articulately written and deeply meaningful. I was impressed by the author’s ability to take aspects of spirituality and create a work that is altogether new, fresh, and completely inspired.”
—Keli Martinez, Pleasanton, CA

Four in the Garden is a symbolic narrative bathed in spiritual meaning. It is a treasure chest overflowing with nuggets of truth. It challenges the reader to search out their own soul. Four in the Garden is one book I will read again and again.”
—Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Four in the Garden is simply one of those books you just hate to put down. I was drawn into the story line immediately, and thought it was a great way to demonstrate "Creator" and all that a spiritual life entails.”
Amy Vey, Friendship, WI

“Rick Hocker has written a unique spiritual fantasy of a transcendental ordeal. His description of the ecstatic mystical experience is unparalleled.”
—David Brin
Author of An American Musician Visits Cremona

“Your book really helped me. I am now extremely happy in life. I was struggling for years. Art that inspires one to seek within and find truth through the painful act of living is truly priceless. Keep it up!”
—Tony S., Oregon

Four in the Garden brought a time of spiritual renewal for me. The author brought to light in a creative, refreshing way the potential we have for experiencing intimacy with God.”
—Jim Strouse, Vancouver, WA

“How often have we heard someone say that if there was just one person in existence God would have gone through the whole process for that one. Hocker's book develops that idea. I liked how Cherished, the lead character, didn't have any shortcuts to the conclusion. I recommend it highly. I know I'll be rereading it over and again!”
—Bill Caldwell, Joplin, MO

“I found the spiritual nature of the book genuine, wise and thoughtful. I underlined something, I cried at the end and I'll probably read it again.”
—Barbara Cole Brooks, Martinez, CA

“This is a great book that tells a story that somehow everyone has gone through. I just loved it.”
—Jorge Moreno, Mexico

Four in the Garden is a delightful and multifaceted read. This is a perfect BOOK CLUB read to bring forth a great discussion. I plan to read it again, with highlighter in hand, to mark and remember the wisdom, beautifully stated on each page.”
Janet Piper, San Leandro, CA

“This is probably the best description of a personal relationship with a higher power that exists anywhere!”
—Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

“The journey for Cherished was truly about learning to trust, and it made me look at myself in that aspect - I learned a lot from that reflection. The story was thought-provoking, emotional, and transforming.”
Michael Darling, Palm Springs, CA

“Rick Hocker's Four in the Garden challenges the reader and offers guidance even when all seems lost. I enjoyed the fact that the book had a message of where true hope and direction comes from.”
Cyrus Webb
media personality, literary advocate and award-winning author <>

Four in the Garden is an allegorical story similar to the writings of C.S. Lewis. This book definitely inspired me to trust more fully in God. I highly recommend it!”
Doug McCoy, Pleasant Hill, CA

“This is an interesting book from beginning to end, and it truly makes you think about a lot of different things. This book is an inspiration in many ways as well as being a solid, entertaining read.”
Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

“I flew through the first hundred pages, devouring the richness of the imagery and the comfort of the author's writing style. With each chapter I find insights, gentle ways to view life very differently, without any attempt to drag me into a belief.”
Glenn Gebhardt, Ripon, CA

Four In The Garden is an amazing fantasy-allegory; a story about the creation of one human by God. Told with clarity, pathos, and vivid detail, Four In the Garden is a refreshing read about hope and human triumph.”
Alex Davis, San Francisco, CA

“The spiritual journey is very rewarding and helps readers delve into their inner selves. A very original story that is inspirational and uplifting with its unique plot.”
Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

“Creative, ingenious, enlightening! Each time I picked up the book I immediately was re-engaged and challenged to consider the nuggets of wisdom found in that chapter! If you were enamored with the colorful, creative Harry Potter series then you already know how fun reading this book will be.”
Sandra Wing, Pleasanton, CA

“A beautiful story of man's relationship with God, through fantasy, that leads the reader step-by-step to discovery of life's greatest truths of love, trust and redemption.”
Lucy Hart, Concord, CA

“It caused me to think about the deeper meaning of life. I highly recommend it.”
Karen Lee, Orinda, CA

“A brilliant, thought provoking piece of work. The imagery, the fantastic descriptions, made me feel as if I was walking along in the Garden. A great read.”
Dennis Carreiro, Orlando, Florida

Discussion Questions
1. The theme of the book is that life can transform us if we trust. How did the book illustrate that theme? What is your understanding of transformation and its importance?

2. The story is told in first person so that the reader would feel as though they were experiencing the story firsthand. In what situations did you relate to Cherished?

3. What section or scene was the most meaningful to you and why?

4. What situations surprised you? Looking back, can you see the clues and foreshadowing that led up to those surprises?

5. What elements of the Garden of Eden story did you see in the book? In what ways did the book differ?

6. Although the book is classified as fantasy, the author wrote about spiritual realities he believed to be true. What elements in the story do you believe are true?

7. How did Cherished grow in his understanding of Creator? How did his relationship with Creator change over time?

8. In what ways did Radiance change? How did Blaze change? In what ways was Blaze stuck?

9. Did you find it easy or difficult to sympathize with Blaze? Could you identify with him in any way?

10. The book covered a number of difficult topics, such as suffering, free will and forgiveness. Which of the author’s explorations of a topic impacted you the most and why?

11. The story explored the tension between dependence and independence. What conclusions did the story make regarding free will and independence?

12. Creator’s love was a constant in Cherished’s life, but that love sometimes expressed itself in discipline or withdrawal. Identify the various facets of love presented in the story. How might you define love in such a way as to include these facets?

13. Cherished often made mistakes and sabotaged his relationship with Creator. How did Creator respond to Cherished in these situations? What was Creator’s highest priority for Cherished?

14. How did the story affect your understanding of God and/or your relationship to God?
(Questions courtesy of the author.)

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