Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rebecca Book Review

Rebecca by Adam J. Nicolai


Sarah, 18, has been attracted to other girls since she was nine. But she is a Christian, and the tenets of her church are clear: homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. In a desperate bid to prove her virtue, she throws herself at a boy she goes to school with, and ends up pregnant.

Her infant daughter, Rebecca, derails Sarah's entire life. She is forced to withdraw from Yale before she even gets there. Her devout mother, ashamed, pays for an apartment where Sarah is alone with the baby. Sara was smart, beautiful, and adored. Now she feels like she knows nothing, and her friends treat her like a leper.

In the long, sleepless hours of night, while she waits on pins and needles for Rebecca's certain cry, she is forced to reflect on who she is and how she got here. She has lost all hope - until one night she hears God, providing her a simple answer:

Kill the child.

Review by Brittany:

Let me start by saying that this book obviously covers some pretty serious themes: homosexuality, postpartum depression, religion. If you feel squeamish about any of these, this book probably isn't going to be for you.

I loved it, though. Sarah's struggles with her feelings for Tiff, the woman she loves, and her desire to be pleasing to God are beautifully written. She is in a constant state of battling with herself and what she believes is the sexuality she was born with. The lack of support from Rebecca's father adds to Sarah's confusion about her feelings for him and her desire to be with Tiff, who is supporting her in a way that no one else is.

Sarah's mother is a huge religious fanatic, and the pastor from her church is the perfect example of why it's easy to judge a certain religion. Pastor Dennis is unafraid of saying exactly how he feels about things, and he leaves no wiggle room for his parishioners. His way is THE way, and Sarah's mother has fallen into believing it. This has caused Sarah to question everything about herself.

The visits from God's messenger are scary and were, I think, a nod to postpartum depression. Sarah is struggling on her own, with no support from her mother or the father of her baby. She has no idea what she is doing and she feels isolated from all of her friends. She starts dreaming of this messenger who tells her to kill her baby, that this is the solution to everything. She struggles with this, knowing it doesn't seem right but wanting to please God.

Sarah's relationship with her mother is one that developed the most in this book, and I appreciated it. They had some good conversations toward the end where the author illustrated the struggles a firm believer can have and how they might try to overcome them. Sarah embraces her sexuality and admits to her feelings for Tiff, beginning a relationship with her.

The climax of the book comes fast and hard, and there are parts that are hard to read. It is a pretty eye opening scene, one that might leave the reader questioning what they believe and the "rightness" of those beliefs.

But even aside from the controversial topics, this author is just a good author. He writes well, putting the reader in the shoes of his main character easily. He outlines the struggles of any single parent and couples in Sarah's struggles that are singular to her. The author moves the story along at a great pace and knows how to keep the reader hooked. A wonderful, beautiful book.

Notable quotes:

Excelling was an old habit for her, and she couldn't abandon it easily - even if nothing mattered anymore.

She has no idea what the world is, Sarah realized. It's terrifying. Every bit of it is terrifying.

The notion of being everything to another human being was backbreaking.

There was no defense between her and the world's pain.

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