Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
July 19, 2011, Bloomsbury
Read for YA Contemps Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
The story of Lacey Anne Byers, a small town girl who is excited to star in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, until a childhood friend reappears and makes her question her faith.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, the Goodreads summary really does nothing to explain what this book is about, nor does the book flap, so automatically the book is better than I expected it to be. On the other hand, I found a lot of things in this book absolutely detestable. BUT, the things I found detestable were characters' actions and behaviors, so perhaps because I reacted so strongly that means I really liked it? I'm not sure...it was definitely an interesting storyline. At a pivotal point in her life, Lacey begins to question everything she's believed in, and at the same time she starts to doubt the image of perfection her parents have been portraying.
What I am sure about it that I'm not a fan of small-town thinking, at least as it's portrayed in this novel. Ugh! Almost everyone was so narrow-minded, and the whole idea of Hell House is absolutely deplorable. BUT they exist! Just Google Hell House and see what you come up with. All over America there are churches whose members believe this is the way to save souls! All over America there are girls like Lacey who aspire to one day be Abortion Girl! You can even order your own Hell House how-to kit or individual scene packages! It's just so absurdly ridiculous that of course it really happens.
My apologies to any devoutly religious followers I have or may soon be losing. I am not the most religious person in the world, but I am a firm believer in letting people make their own decisions. I am NOT a fan of being told what to do, and having that belief crammed down my throat. I won't get into all of my beliefs here, but my husband and I are raising our daughter to know that differences are good--if everyone was exactly the same, the world would be a very boring place.
This lesson is one that Lacey starts to realize in her quest to become Abortion Girl, especially after some of the things her father says to her. (OMG I wonder if he really believes that it's easier for a woman to abstain from sex? And should a father really be buying his daughter a purity ring? Does anyone else think that's kind of weird?)
So yeah, Small Town Sinners will definitely bring up some thinking points. I'm still getting all kinds of aggravated by some of what I read (in a FICTIONAL novel LOL), which, to me, is one of the components of a great book--the ideas and thoughts stay with you long after you've finished the book. I guess what I didn't like about this book is that it brought to my attention, once again, that in many places the narrow-minded way of thinking is the only way of thinking.
Borrowed book from library.
Enjoy your reading!