Tag Archives: Religion

Review: A Land More Kind Than Home

A Land More Kind Than Home

A Land More Kind Than Home
By Wiley Cash
(William Morrow Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780062088239, Jan 2013, 336pp.)

The Short of It:

While this story had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering how it would all end, it fell flat for me.

The Rest of It:

It’s garnered a lot of praise so I was a little surprised when I closed the book and felt less than impressed. But in all honestly, this book has everything that I normally enjoy in a book, but perhaps it had to do with timing. I had just finished  a rather meaty book and the other book was still bouncing around in my head. Perhaps this contributed to my feelings over this book?? Either way, I’ll try to give it a fair shake here.

Jess and Christopher live in the small town of Marshall. Jess is the adventurous one and very protective of his mute, older brother Christopher. Christopher, thought to be slower than the other boys is often called Stump and when Stump witnesses something he shouldn’t, the results are disastrous for all involved.

The story is told by multiple narrators, Jess, Adelaide Lyle, the town’s midwife and Clem Barefield, the sheriff. As the midwife, Adelaide delivered many of the town’s children and because of that, she knows most of the kids and is familiar with their families. At least enough to know how they tick. When the town’s pastor, Carson Chambliss performs a snake charming ritual that goes wrong, Adelaide takes it upon herself to move the children to a separate Sunday school in order to protect them from what is going on in the main church. It’s clear from her actions, that although she doesn’t approve of what Chambliss is preaching, she is trying to respect his beliefs and the beliefs of others. But even with protection, something goes terribly wrong and Jess is left to deal with the heartache.

I think the main problem I had with this story is that I felt as if I was reading the story from a distance. I never really felt as if I got to know any of the characters, except perhaps Adelaide. She rang the most true to me out of the bunch and I enjoyed reading her parts of the story. The other thing that I didn’t care for, that I rarely care for in any book, is the strong religious aspect. I am a believer, but this book bordered on fanaticism and I just didn’t care for it.

What I liked though, and what I felt worked, were the alternating chapters. Had my brain been free to really focus on this book, I think I would have enjoyed it more as I did feel moments of intense emotion but in the end, it never hit the “love” mark for me.

Source: Borrowed.
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Review & Giveaway: The Leftovers

The Leftovers

The Leftovers
By Tom Perrotta
(St. Martin’s Press, Hardcover, 9780312358341, August 30, 2011, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

Perrotta’s decision to skim over the Rapture itself is a risky one, but in the end, it works.

The Rest of It:

The story is simple. In a Rapture-like event, several of the inhabitants of Mapleton disappear. Without any warning, while doing everyday things, they just…vanish. The story begins a few years later. The folks that were left behind have picked up their routines again, but they are not the same people they were before the event and they constantly ask the same question over and over again. Why? They’re alive, but do they want to be?

I have to tell you, it took me well over 100 pages to get into this story. I’d say, at around page 225, I started to get into it. Why did it take me so long? Well, the story is told by several different characters, and although it was never confusing to me, I found it hard to relate to them initially. They weren’t all that likable. There is a weird religious cult which I really did not get, a fanatical preacher-type guy who takes on many wives, etc.

Plus, the decision to begin the story three years after the event took some acceptance on my part. I felt as if I missed out on something, which may have been Perrotta’s point. These characters walk around in a trance, going through the motions, yet they aren’t happy. At one point I asked myself, will these characters ever be happy? Those who know me personally, know that I do not need happy characters in a story. In fact, I am a big lover of dysfunction in literature but even I wanted them to be a little bit happy.

That’s why this next sentence will surprise you…

Strangely, I found myself liking the book quite a bit. The last few pages were very satisfying (to me) and all the little quibbles I had with it, didn’t seem to matter anymore. I guess you could say that I lost myself in the ending. I think I traveled to three different rooms in my house just to ensure an uninterrupted finish and Perrotta did not disappoint!

Overall, a pretty good read if you’re willing to invest a little bit of time.

If you’ d like to win your own copy, check out the giveaway info below!

Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.

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Giveaway Information

This giveaway is for one copy of The Leftovers and is open to the US only. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on August 31, 2011 (pacific). I will email the winner!

This giveaway is now closed!