Top positive review
Karon Gets Real
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2015
I gather there have been some complaints about this book: it is not as sweet, soft and comforting as Karon's other books. It is, in fact, honest and raw and human, and I think it is her best book yet. I was raised as a Protestant, and I watched those around me, who attended church on Sunday mornings, abuse themselves and their children. I watched them cheat on their spouses and their taxes and generally behave very badly indeed, and yet assure themselves and others that "we are all going to heaven because God forgives, and we go to church on Sunday morning." Unfortunately, this includes the clergymen of my community, not just their "believers." I do believe in forgiveness, but not hypocrisy, and I left so-called Christianity behind at an early age. This does not mean that I have no belief in God or the true Christ, but the organized church has completely missed the mark in terms of its doctrinal enforcements and rationalizations, in my opinion. Karon's early books were, I thought, charming, and indeed sweet and comforting...but that was all. In this book, her protagonist returns to his beginnings, and we see why he truly is the way he is. Her characters and the stories they tell are often chilling, and we see and feel--viscerally--the pain this man lived through growing up. I continue to find his little homilies largely meaningless, as well as her tendency to keep him on his throne, but he himself emerges as a very real person, and I salute Karon for her honesty and willingness to get her hands dirty in this book. I wonder if her readers will let her change?