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Book of Mercy Paperback – September 9, 2011
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"If you are a book lover, you will love this book!" -- Faith Sullivan, author of Gardenias, The Cape Ann, and The Empress of One.
"It's going to make you think. And laugh. And get angry. And maybe even cry a little." -- For Books' Sake
"The book takes more than a cursory look at book banning and presents compelling characters with arguments on both sides of the issue. . . . the glimpse into the individual motivations and group dynamics of people we can all identify with brings a richness to the story." -- Book Pleasures
"Book of Mercy is a truly beautiful, heart-warming novel on book censorship, the nature of love, motherhood and friendship. I loved this book from the first page to the end, which had me in tears of joy . . . The ending is perfect and the writing exquisite." -- Tahlia Newland, Awesome Indies
From the Author
I wrote this novel on book banning after a book, The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes, was challenged in my daughter's high school in North Carolina. After public meetings and a review committee assessment, the award-winning Gringo was returned to the shelves. But not before a beloved teacher resigned in protest. This is an issue I can't seem to let go. I continue to write about censorship in my blog.
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The author allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you). Osmyrrah has published the book and you can grab a copy on Amazon.
Ms. Roberts has made her main character someone that everyone should love. She raises deer, owns a vegetarian restaurant, and is married to Sam, who loves her dearly and is protective. She takes in anyone who needs some love and guidance and really cares about them. She's a generally good person. Her only hidden fault is dyslexia and she's tried very hard to get over it with no success.
The central theme in this story is the fact that a certain faction of town (the ladies group) wants to ban books from the library. Antigone is appalled. She might not be able to read herself, but she wants her child to have the ability to read and the right to read what she chooses, not what someone else has decided is "safe". The war between the two women is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and very believable.
I am very much against book banning, so I had to read this book. I think parents need to discuss books that have uncomfortable issues in them with the children reading them, but I don't think the child should be held back from reading them. It's better to talk about it and how it makes you or them feel and why you feel that way. Then they won't be surprised later.
This author does a nice job of presenting both sides of the argument and showing how it eventually gets resolved. Neither woman comes out of the fight unscathed. Life is like that.
The story is a bit intense, but it felt "real" and it was done well. Follow Antigone on her journey for "right." It's a good read.
Among the books challenged or banned in the United States in 2010-11 were The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, as a parent claimed that it gave her 11-year-old daughter nightmares and could numb other children to the effects of violence; What's Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: A Guide for Parents and Sons, which was banned in 21 Texas schools after a parent complained about it; and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, challenged in Republic, Missouri schools because it is allegedly "glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex."
In the recently released Book of Mercy, Minnesota author Sherry Roberts tackles the topic of censorship in a small town. Roberts' story centers on a group of influential women--the Mercy Study Club--whose leader decides to remove "undesirable" books from the school library. The movement gathers support, and eventually, the school librarian is bullied into taking a select group of books off the shelves.
The plan goes off the tracks when Antigone Brown discovers the plot. Brown is a woman who has trouble reading road signs, keeps a stone in her pocket to help her remember right from left, and despairs of ever being a good mother to her unborn child. Brown is a quirky, smart, loveable everywoman that readers can't help rooting for. The situations she finds herself involved in are messy and true-to-small town life. Though she is far from perfect, Antigone's moral compass never wavers. The challenges she faces are formidable and her foes are deliciously evil.
"This novel is inspired by an actual book challenge that occurred in my daughter's high school in North Carolina," Roberts says in an interview via email. "She came home one day and said, `Mom, they're banning books!' A parent complained about The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes, and the school took it out of circulation. Eventually, the book was returned to the library shelves, after a public meeting and a review committee assessment. However, in the process, the English teacher resigned."
Roberts adds, "Every parent has to face the same question that Antigone Brown ponders: how do we protect our children from the world but save the world for our children?"
Roberts is also the author of Maud's House, and two non-fiction books about the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. She has contributed essays and articles to national publications such as USA Today. Visit Sherry Roberts's blog: [...] Details: Available in paperback and eBook.
Article first published as Book Review and Interview: Book of Mercy by Sherry Roberts on Blogcritics.
When Imogen is upset, she takes off on a driving binge, generally without her cell phone, while her husband Sam works on his welding binge to stave off his worry. This time, she is pregnant and is afraid of being a bad mother, afraid of letting down her child to be. On the way, she picks up another stray, Ryder, a homeless teenager from New York.
Imogen has a secret: she is severely dyslexic. When the busy-bodies in the town of Mercy decide to ban books from the library to protect their children, Imogen stands up against them, and her vegetarian café will become a self-service library as children bring their books to her because they are afraid to see them taken away from them.
`Book of Mercy' is a feel-good novel to get absorbed in when you feel the need to take your mind off your own reality. Sherry Roberts created strong and lovable characters to make friends with. At the same time, she brings up the subject of censorship and freedom of choice and expression, and how it can affect private lives and local communities.
Review Disclaimer: This book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The above review was not influenced in any way, including financial.