Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

This Gorgeous Game I simply have no business being in love and playing around with a girl, however innocently...After all I am supposed to be a monk with a vow of chastity and though I have kept my vow--I wonder if I can keep it indefinitely and still play this gorgeous game! --Thomas Merton

Olivia is a talented writer and she's been selected as the first high school scholarship winner in Father Mark's college summer writing class. She can't believe her luck and is even more excited when Father Mark takes time to tutor her personally and edit her drafts. At first she's thrilled and excited, but things eventually start to change. She realizes that some of Father Mark's behavior around her is odd, especially when other people want to spend time with Olivia. She finds herself trying to take a break from him, but Father Mark is unwilling to let go.

I was really excited to read This Gorgeous Game when I saw the good reviews it was getting. I became more excited when at lunch with Anne Dayton during BEA, she mentioned how good the book is. (never mind that she's friends with the author!) When I got home from BEA, my preordered copy had arrived so I settled into read.

This Gorgeous Game tells a story that is probably familiar to more of us than we wish was true. What I appreciated about the book is the subtle build-up. While the reader goes in knowing things will eventually escalate to uncomfortable levels, Olivia has no idea. She's completely oblivious and willing to sacrifice time with friends and family because she thinks it's an honor to receive so much attention from Father Mark. It isn't until he begins to play manipulative games with her that she starts to get uncomfortable. I also really appreciated that there was never any physical violation, but that the violation was still very real. Olivia feels threatened because she has no space, Father Mark is invading every part of her life, in sometimes shocking ways. Additionally, because Mark is so respected within the community and because he is a priest, Olivia struggles with wondering if anyone will believe her.

I also liked how Olivia's Catholic family is portrayed very naturally. Olivia expresses very real and what I think are expected feelings towards God for what's happening. She's angry, and why wouldn't she be? There's no neat and clean resolution to this, but I was satisfied with the resolution.

I think This Gorgeous Game is an important book in some ways, because it tackles the issue of being violated, being stalked, by someone who should be on your side. But it's also just an interesting read as well.

Rating: 4.5/5
Source of Book: bought it
Publisher: Frances Foster Books (FSG)

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate hearing your thoughts.