Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: A Month of Sundays by Ruth White

Garnet's mother decides to move to Florida and leave her behind with an aunt, uncle, and cousins she's never met while she looks for a job. Garnet is at first very upset by this...her Aunt June is her father's sister and Garnet never met her father. But once she arrives, she realizes she quite likes this side of the family she's never met and she starts to make new friends and understand her family history in a new way.

Her aunt thinks she's come for a reason and tells her that she's looking for God. She's visiting a different church every week and invites Garnet along. Sounds like an interesting set-up right?

Well, not exactly. I found the book to be confusing in terms of what it was saying about faith. I think maybe the author was going for a "learn to live with the questions" theme, but it was so sloppily executed. I can't really discuss what I mean without major spoilers so be forewarned, MAJOR SPOILERS:

Garnet's aunt has cancer which is the reason she's looking for God. Garnet meets a boy she really likes and his father tries faith healing on her aunt and it works. And then....NO ONE thinks it's actually God that healed her! The pastor's son thinks it's mind over matter, Aunt June thinks she did it (with a sort of..we are all god kind of concept), the pastor thinks HE did it...I mean...I was honestly flabbergasted. (I've never said that before!) Considering the book is set in the 50s and in the South, all of these reactions seems really bizarre to me. Don't misunderstand! I'd be perfectly fine with some of the characters not actually believing it's God but with the setting and the time period I think and just...the culture of faith healing I feel like this is terribly inauthentic. Like White wanted to write a story about faith and that culture but not actually lend it any credibility by allowing her characters to have any faith in God. Okay the more I write about this the more it annoys me. But anyway! There's also this really weird ending to the book which is big and huge and tragic and kind of shoved in there with no resolution. Basically this entire story was really bizarre to me. END SPOILERS

Has anyone else read this?

Rating: 2/5
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: FSG


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