It’s 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah’s nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer’s imagination running wild? Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, memories of the past—of his childhood friend Issy, of his first love, of the mother he has yet to properly mourn—overwhelm him at every turn. When he arrives at his family’s old house, he’s completely unprepared for what he finds. How far back must one man journey to heal a broken bond between father and son?
ARC received for review.
I'd heard good things about this so I was intrigued enough to give it a try. It was interesting, but I wouldn't particularly call it good.
The story of a father and son coming together at the end of the father's life was pretty standard. The father didn't approve of the son, they spent years apart, then they reconcile when the father is dying. What sets this apart is that the entire thing is soaked with religion. It's everywhere. Seriously, from the very first page to the last it's nothing but God, church, bible references, etc. I know this religious aspect was supposed to be a selling point for the book but it really wasn't for me. It was just too heavy handed and left me irritated more than anything. It really took away from the story rather than adding to it.
I didn't particularly either like or care about the characters either. I just didn't care one way or the other what happened to them. I wasn't excited or saddened by any of their experiences because there was just no emotional connection at all with them. It was actually a bit of a let down.
While this is very well written and an interesting story about the relationship between a father and son it's really only intended for those with an affinity for religion. If that's not you then it's probably best to give this a pass.
★★★☆☆ = Liked It
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