"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

08 February 2014

2014 Book Review #7: Amity and Sorrow

Well, not all books can be as great as this one I mention here in this review (Click on the link)

This one, pictured above, caught my eye on the towne library shelf because of the title.  The title are the names of the daughters in the story. 

I thought I was going to like this book. I was wrong!


A woman named Amaranth has been driving for days with her 2 daughters, Amity and Sorrow, bound together by a white strip of cloth, in a car across the Midwest of the USA.

They are fleeing Amaranth's husband Zechariah who is the head of a polygamous compound.  He has 50 wives.  Amaranth is his first wife.

She crashes the car in the Panhandle of Oklahoma and they find themselves stranded.  The girls don't really know about life in the "real" world.  They have been raised by an extreme religious zealot, a cult actually, and just don't know the ways of the world. 

A farmer named Bradley offers to help them. He is scraping a living together by working his family's homestead (his wife left him) and he takes care of his old, ailing father, and a farmhand boy named Dust....who is the closest thing he has to a son.  He is mistrustful at first of the woman and her girls, as they are of him.  But slowly, over time, he begins to open up his heart to Amaranth and she to him.

He is very tolerant of their odd rituals and weird clothing.  Amity begins to thrive in her new surroundings, trying junk food for the first time and seeing television and the town library.  But Sorrow is determined to get back to the father and his cult that has shaped her entire life.


I started reading the book with an open mind even though I really don't like reading about cults.  As a believer of the grace-filled freedom we have in Christ, it is hard to read about such an extremist group of people where a man can be "lord" over a group of women and children. And yet, this does go on in our culture today.....we hear about it often in the news.  The author even makes reference to Waco, Texas.  I have always had a problem with our government allowing this type of religious sect to practice, yet I know, because we are America, any religion, whether a weird one or not, is allowed to be practiced.  And polygamy is not entirely sanctioned by law yet it does continue......I think mainly in the Southwest.  I haven't done research on it, I've just read bits and pieces from news sources over the years.

This novel turned me off and I found my self skipping through it to get the gist of what happens.  It was depressing to me. I just can't imagine the kind of spiritual hold that cults have over a woman and that she allows it to happen, yet I know that part is real.  It does happen. And cults can be difficult to escape.

I ended up not finishing the book. I just didn't want this seeping into my spirit, as spooky spiritual that might sound...hopefully you know what I mean.

The author herself appears to be a brilliant writer. Her prose is excellent and her character development is amazing!

If you are curious about the emotional and spiritual aspects of cult practices, this book is ok to read.  I personally don't want to fill my mind with such things nor waste my reading time with this type of book. 

To the author's credit, she does a very good job of describing the emotional and spiritual ramifications in a person's soul and mind when involved in extreme religious faith/practices.

But as a plot, I just couldn't get into this.

In my opinion, this novel is appropriate for ages 17 and older(due to some content of sexual/religious practices).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 3.


Susanne said...

I have read several different stories about different kinds of cults. Some better than others. I find the exploration of the mind set and the struggles of the ones trying to break free interesting. But some stories are easier to read than others. There has been lots in the news about polygamous religious societies in the news here too as there is a huge one in B.C.

Faith said...

Susanne, I wanted to like this book but it just didn't "sit right" with me....I just couldn't get into it!! But I do like learning about all the various ways people get duped into those cults. It's awful!! and it's sometimes so hard for them to get out!!