Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quick Review: "The Gospel of Winter" by Brendan Kiely

From Goodreads: 
A fearless debut novel about the restorative power of truth and love after the trauma of abuse.

As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s.

The Gospel of Winter maps the ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent—but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and even faith. Brendan Kiely’s unflinching and courageous debut novel exposes the damage from the secrets we keep and proves that in truth, there is power. And real love.

My Thoughts:  I finished this book a few weeks ago and I'm still trying to collect my thoughts on it.  If you looked up the word 'haunting' in the dictionary, it would say see this book.  The Gospel of Winter tackles the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in such a way that you can't help but feel affected by it.  The main character, Aidan, is not really a likable character however I did sympathize with him.  I think his personality issues were, in part, the result of what happened to him so I didn't dislike him, I just felt really bad for him.  He was holding in so much pain and he was so lost and confused by what he was feeling and what had happened.  It was hard to watch all the people in his life fail him; his dad left, his mom was pretty self-centered and the housekeeper he was close to just ignored what was happening to him.  You couldn't help but feel bad for him.  I actually felt bad for all the kids in this book because they all seemed so lost.  Aidan wasn't the only character who was abused (there were two others) and I think the author did an excellent job of showing the different ways that people cope with abuse through these characters.  It was pretty heartbreaking to watch each boy be kind of broken down by what happened to them. While the book was really sad and at times, hard to read but there was hope at the end.  The way the story ended left me feeling like Aidan was going to be okay despite it being kind of open ended.  Overall, there was something strangely beautiful about this story and I think it will stick with me for a long time. 5 stars.

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