I hate writing negative reviews. I know the author spent epic time pouring out her heart and soul into this book that is her baby, I don't relish saying anything that will be devastating to her. But as a reviewer I owe it to my readers to tell the truth and point out the good and the bad or how can they trust me when I say something is really worth their time and money to read? This is one of the times that I have to seriously dissuade my readers from wasting time, money or brain cells on this book.
Starting out on a positive note... I like the cover of this book, and even the title. For a small publisher I was impressed by the presentation of the book. There is also a lot of good character development, quite a few central characters yet I still felt like I was really getting into their heads (almost more than I wanted to). Okay, that is about where the good ends.
Rarely do I read a "Christian" book that leaves me with the sense of wishing I could get my precious hours back that I spent reading it. That leaves me wishing I could take a shower and wash it away. This book did just that. I kept thinking that there would be some redeeming factors by the end that would make it all worthwhile - but no, instead there are tons of funerals (which was repeatedly spelled wrong by the way) whether by suicide, murder, fire or more suicide. Really? The pastor in the story is losing his faith by the end, for a long time I couldn't even figure out why it was called a Christian book. Then some of the characters started debating theology quite a bit - but that doesn't make it Christian. I look for God's redemption, His grace and mercy to shine through and bring hope... just because the baby born is named Mercy Grace does not mean God's grace and mercy have been exhibited to the reader.
This was the darkest, vilest book I've ever read. I understand that the author was going for "realism", "edginess" and "grit". But that doesn't mean you have to take every evil thing that has ever happened to someone and roll them all into one book (molestation, rape, murder, physical abuse, mental abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, premarital sex, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, and the list goes on...) This is supposed to represent the struggles of youth today, I may be naive but I don't know one single teen that is going through all those things.
I do know that no book is written for everyone and I am convinced that this book was not written for me... I just haven't figured out who it was written for. I have 2 copies of this book and I was going to give them away, but that is before I read it. I can not in good conscience pass them on to other readers.
The odd thing is that I read Peggy's book "Tare" and didn't think it was awful, it was kind of dark at the end, and didn't have the closure I was looking for but it wasn't anything like this book.
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If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judas Ride, go HERE