This book is captivating, haunting, thought provoking.
A teenage boy, son of a pastor, has feelings that overwhelm him. He has terrifying dreams he can't explain. He's made preparations to commit suicide. His parents are frantic. They've done what they think it best for their son. Everything, that is, except tell him the truth, the one tool he needs to survive.
I really liked this book. The combination of the subject matter and the plot construction made for a great novel. We find out information as the plot progresses, just as some of the characters do. The exploration of the relationships and characters is developed slowly but deeply. It is an intense novel yet very satisfying. I can hardly believe this is a debut novel. It is great.
This novel generated lots of questions for me. Some of them deal with character development. Just how important is one's history? Does it have an effect on us even if we don't know it? Others deal with parenting. Is it better to tell a child painful information when young or later? How honest should parents be with their children? Is it ever best to not be honest? Some of the questions deal with suffering teens. Do they cut themselves to physically feel the pain they have in their heart? Some of them deal with how we give help to troubled teens. Do we keep the source of help within the Christian community or do we look to “secular” help too? (In the novel, the father, a pastor, wanted to use only people within his own congregation.) And then there are some general questions. Are keeping secrets ever the “best” thing to do? How does healing from past trauma happen?
There was no discussion guide included in this novel. I would highly recommend it for reading groups anyway. There is so much to discuss in this book, concepts about secrets, parenting, adoption, and much more. This is a great novel.
Gerard Kelly is a speaker and author. He and his wife live and work in France and co-foounded the Bless Network. You can find out more about the ministry at http://blessnet.eu/.
Lion Fiction (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel), 322 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel for the purpose of an independent and honest review.