- File Size: 1275 KB
- Print Length: 290 pages
- Publication Date: May 27, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00YFAGM8U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,271,591 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||$12.54|
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Clad in Armour of Radiant White Kindle Edition
|Length: 290 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
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Ellen goes to an all-girl school that is commonly referred to as “The Convent”, where she is an above-average student who is infatuated with a boy named Michael. Like Ellen, all of the other girls around her age are also beginning to date boys, and the details of these courtship rituals make up a large part of the narrative. Ellen’s best friend is Erica, and through their relationship we learn about the fragility of young love and the impermanence of adolescent friendship.
The religious aspects of the book mostly deal with Ellen’s interpretations. She is a young Catholic girl who at times questions her faith and tries to be a good Christian while still knowingly committing what she views as sins. Ellen and her friends are not prepared to deal with any of the realities of the world (indeed, the only real information they get about “sex-ual inter-course” is through a pamphlet about menstruation handed out by a nun), so it comes as no surprise when a tragedy occurs and the children are blindsided by it. The Catholic community that the book portrays will feel very familiar to most, and the secondary and tertiary cast is brought to life in an engaging way. Clad in Armour of Radiant White is very much the story of the complexity of adult relationships seen through the eyes of confused Catholic children. Ellen’s perpetual Catholic guilt also makes up a large part of the story.
Sex and puberty are often discussed by the characters in the book, and one could make the argument that Ellen and her friends are boy crazy. They rarely talk about anything else, and the reader should be prepared for that, but this serves to characterize them enough to make the events of the book (which almost all deal with relationships and sex) and the characters’ reactions to them understandable. What sexuality has to do with Catholicism is lightly explored, but usually amounts to the young characters quickly making up their own rules to follow and debating what constitutes a sinful act.
While the book accomplishes its goal beautifully and brilliantly, I could also see how some might criticize the book for its lack of action. This is a book in which nothing out-of-the-ordinary happens until the very last few pages. For the vast majority of the book, no one ever really acts out of character and the dramatic stakes are never higher than what any average person will experience growing up. I can see how some readers might be turned off by this approach, but it allows the book to be clearly anchored in reality. Ellen is not Tom Sawyer or Ender Wiggin. She is a regular, confused Catholic girl growing up in the sixties. I can see this book appealing the most to female teenagers, but anyone who is interested in experiencing the perspective of growing up Catholic in Lancashire in the 50s and 60s are going to get exactly what they’re looking for. 4.5 Stars, rounded up to 5 for review purposes.
Additional Note: The ending of the book, particularly the final twist, is incredibly confusing. It is impossible to discuss the ending without spoiling the events of the book, but it is left open-ended in a way that casts a very dark shadow over Ellen, seemingly out of nowhere. The main character’s motives are left intentionally ambiguous and as a result it is difficult to tell if the apparent shift in tone has been steadily building the whole time or if this character is simply not who we think she is. While unclear, I think it works perfectly for the book, and have deducted no points for the way the ending is presented.