I looked forward to reading We Sinners as I grew up in a Laestadian faith very similar to the one described in the book and subsequently left the church. I found this effort to be disappointing on a number of levels. The effort to create a fictional family with a “high density” of problems left me cold as it lacked the ability to understand the greater issues that naturally exist. Let’s see… we will include one son who drinks, another who is gay, one daughter who gets pregnant and then we will see how the fundamental parents react to each one. (I am still waiting for the book that describes the dilemma created in the mind of a leftist parent who has a son who votes Republican.) It is almost as if she is trying to prove that the tenets of the whole institution are untenable. The reactions described are all too predictable and frankly, trite at this point. There have been many books written about faiths that have a high degree of tension between them and...
I eagerly pre-ordered this book because of its focus on a conservative sect of Lutherans (I'm Lutheran, though the most liberal flavor, and I would obviously be deemed a heretic by the Rovaniemis!). The book started off strong and held my attention until the very end, when I felt that it fell a bit flat. I won't give anything away, but I wanted a bit more resolution at the end. Overall, the book really helps the reader see the dynamic in extremely conservative families when someone "strays" from the path. For some, it is easier to write off the family member, but for others, they still love that person as a son or daughter, brother or sister -- they are not just religious robots. I wish there had been more treatment of the theological perspective on sin, and how that develops for each person, but I'm also a huge theology nerd, so most people just looking for a good read will find it sufficient. I enjoyed the style of character development, and there were certain phrases written by the...
Although this wasn't my favorite book, it did make for an interesting book club discussion. The last chapter frustrated me and did not provide the closure that I crave from a book. Also, the author chose to write each chapter from a different character's perspective, so it read more like a collection of short stories about the same family. Interesting but again, I never got to experience full closure on any one character's story, and that frustrated me.
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