Thursday, August 18, 2011

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker


Synopsis taken from the author’s website:

Does falling in love mean falling out of faith?

“Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion."

Let me preface this review by stating that this is NOT the type of book I would normally pick up.  And had I really known what I was getting into I am not sure I would have checked it out from the library.  But I don’t regret this read.  It was equal parts fascinating and upsetting.  It was so upsetting (for me, anyhow) that I texted my fellow Bibliojunkies at 1:30 in the morning to vent my frustration.  Hopefully I didn’t wake either of them up with text alerts screaming from their phones.

So, why did I pick up this book? Because of the following quote from a review found in Book Page – “For the first time in her life, Lacey is forced to stop and think about her faith, her friendships and what she wants for her future”.   Due to my strict religious upbringing and how it affected me, I could completely identify with this statement and thought I might really relate to Lacey, the main character in this book.  Thankfully, the person I am now couldn’t relate to her or her way of life but I saw my teenage-self more than a few times in this story. 

Extreme religious sentiments in this book abound.  Anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-premarital sex…the list could go on.  And let’s not forget to mention the Hell House in which all these sentiments are delivered.  (If you didn’t know already, Hell Houses do exist.  Look it up.  You will be horrifically fascinated.)  Also, scriptures are often quoted by characters in this book (Lacey in particular) to both argue for and against certain religious beliefs. 

Melissa Walker does not try to send a pro or anti religion message.  However, she does stay so true to her setting and characters’ evangelical upbringing that this book can be very difficult to read if you can’t look past the extremes and see the message she is trying to make clear to her readers. 

I don’t agree with the path Lacey takes in the end.  It’s not the route I would have taken.  Nor is it the path I did take in life.  But that isn’t the point of this book.  The point that Melissa Walker so eloquently makes is that it is okay to question our faith and make our own decisions based on what we learn in life.

If you think you can handle reading about the extreme ideals of the far Christian right, then I would recommend this books as it is an interesting read.


1 comment:

  1. So, probably not recommended for me, huh? :-) ~Shel