This was one of the hardest books I have ever chosen to read. I almost put the book down and not finish it. But a news headline caught my eye - a Japanese girl had escaped her kidnapper after being locked up in his home for two years. The news story was too close to the fictional tale told in Julie Cantrell’s book. I had to finish it.
Having said this, the book was upsetting. If it was a movie, it would most certainly be rated “R” - a movie I would choose to not see. The abuse that occurred at so many levels was hard to watch, the impact that the kidnapping of one young girl has on multiple families and on a community is hard to understand. The unexpected pain and anguish suffered by the believers who have been touched by this awful crime unimaginable. And the thought of a Christian publishing company choosing to tell this story seem hard to comprehend.
Yet, it was a story that had to be told. It is a story that is played out in the headlines all too often - whether it be in the commission of a crime or in its resolution, the story is too real to ignore. The author does a good job of wrapping the horrific and the faithful response of this broken community to the five-year history of Sarah’s kidnapping by a stranger and his live-in girlfriend just prior to hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans and its surroundings. The various responses to these dual tragedies are hard to watch - even as most of the characters appear to have some level of faith. That faith, and sometimes the lack of it, plays an important part in the story.
I have a difficult time knowing who this book is written for. The story is too dark for some audiences, yet its heavy dependence on scripture and the character’s response to scripture makes it clearly a Christian book. It is those same scriptures that may make some non-believers shy away from the book. Well-written, with a depth of emotion rarely seen in Christian writing, be prepared to be shaken as you read. At the same time, the reader may find his or her faith strengthened as you see the role scripture has in the lives of others going through h-e-double-q.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.