Author: Anne Leigh Parrish
Publisher: She Writes Press
Type of book: Ordinary life, religion, god, history, immigration, seeking self, spiritual powers and contemplation, living life, 1920s-2012, cult, sexuality, childhood
Year it was published: 2014
Freddie was raised on faith. It's in her blood. Yet rather than seeking solace from the Almighty when she loses her husband of many years, she enters a state of quiet contemplation until her daughter, and then her sister, each come home with a host of problems of their own, and her solitude is brought to an end. As Freddie helps her daughter and sister deal with their troubles, her own painful past a wretched childhood at the hands of an unbalanced, pious mother begins to occupy her thoughts more than ever, as does Anna, the grandmother she's always wished she'd known better. Freddie feels that she and Anna are connected, not just through blood but through the raising of difficult daughters, and it's a kinship that makes her wonder what unseen forces have shaped her life. With all that to hand, a new family crisis rears its head and it forces Freddie to confront the questions she's asked so many times: What does it mean to believe in God? And does God even care?
There are a lot of characters, although important ones are Anna, Freddie, Holly, Beth, and Lorraine. Anna can be seen as sort of a matriarch that was raised in a Catholic household and at an early age she decides to immigrate to America and makes a lot of important choices in her life, although personally some I cannot understand. Lorraine is Anna's daughter and she is a seeker who gets caught up in a cult and tries to raise her daughters Freddie and Holly to be the same way. Freddie and Holly are sisters who make a choice to leave that life behind and although religion does play in their lives, they seem to be detached from it. Beth is Freddie's daughter and although she is without religion, she seeks something to fill and complete her life with, sharing the zeal with her grandmother Lorraine.
To be honest, I have a hard time understanding what lessons I should have learned from reading. I mean, there is a lot that can be interpreted in different ways by different people; religion never vanishes, you need a community to sustain religion, life is a wave of conservatism and liberalism and its never straight are some of the lessons I learned and some I have known already.
In some cases I feel that its a story within a story. Points of view are told in third person narrative, but some information isn't fully revealed as much as I wanted it to be revealed, but the story is compelling and will not leave one alone. Freddie is the one reminiscing about her family history, and just like in real life, there is much neither she nor the audience will ever know about the women and people they have known.
Anne Leigh Parrish’s debut story collection, All The Roads That Lead From Home, (Press 53, 2011) won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal for best short story fiction. She lives in Seattle. To learn more, visit her at www.anneleighparrish.com
Prior to reading this book, I've read Our Love Could Light the World for a book tour, which I've really liked and enjoyed, although I did feel that if it could be worked upon a little more, it had a five star possibility. This book is far more polished and is much better than Our Love Could Light the World. History, time, ordinary life, religion and beliefs seem to flirt with one another within these pages and just like ordinary life, the stories aren't fully told but only tantalizing glimpses are revealed within the vignettes which deal with faiths of christianity and Islam. Yes, there is some Judaism, but the characters used it as something that was vanishing away and something that was hidden, at least in the only Jewish character within. I'm still trying to understand what I should have learned from reading the story, and I think its a lesson that I feel I know well: religion can work in opening up higher possibilities, or religion can work in closing up the higher possibilities, and sometimes things backfire.
This is from SparkPoint PR
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)