I don’t like to write negative reviews: writing a book is hard enough, and getting people to read it is even more difficult. But I review, honestly, as an aid to other readers, so here goes.
Is this a bad book? Well, it’s full of typos and errors that a good piece of editing would have resolved. It’s also a moral tract with its message about as subtle as a sledgehammer opening a walnut. But it will appeal to those who honestly believe the Bible is the word of their god. To those with an open mind, it will slowly become clear that this is a religious tract selling the gospels as though they were the only way to what such believers like to call ‘salvation’.
I’m an agnostic: it’s impossible for us to know whether there’s a god of any sort, since such a force would clearly be so far beyond our understanding as to be incomprehensible. That’s the standpoint from which I read and live. There was a point at which I considered giving up on this book. But there were elements of the story, and some pretty good characterisation, that held my attention. Once I’d reached the conclusion that this was not really a story but a form of modern parable, told in an unsubtle way, I’d read so much of the book that I was curious to see whether it would end along the lines I expected. It did, more or less.
A lot of good, Christian, people will be offended by my comments, but I’m daily offended by the actions of a lot of religious people. I haven’t written this with the intention of offending, but with the honest intention of revealing the reality of the book to potential readers. If readers want their prejudices and guilt-soaked, fear-driven beliefs reinforced, then this is the book for them. If readers prefer stories that deal with reality and the credible, then this is not for them. And for readers with any sense of what is morally right and good, this is definitely not a book for you: it is too full of prejudicial judgement to satisfy the mind of anyone with a true sense of right and wrong.
There are moral lessons here; some of them valid in the modern world. But they are overlain with an attitude to other issues that the modern mind must find repulsive. In particular, the underlying assumption that women must somehow be prepared to put up with cruelty and injustice rather than leave a violent and worthless husband.
The denouement follows a line of fancy that’s hard to credit in the twenty-first century, especially as it’s presented as something ordinary and everyday by the authorial voice that comes to the fore at this point. It was here, where the supernatural element was brought into the tale, that I had real difficulty in continuing to read. Thus far, the story had been set in a sort of reality I could at least partly accept. But at this point it descended into a world of fantasy that stretched credibility well beyond its limits for me.
So, I didn’t enjoy this book. I can’t recall how I came across it, but I certainly won’t be reading another by the author, in spite of the very good reviews it’s received in the land of its origin. Definitely not for me.