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The Fellowship: a novel Paperback – November 13, 2015
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About the Author
Sara Roberts Jones grew up in Mississippi, married a Canadian, and lives in Virginia. She and her husband have four children, a minivan, and a rabbit.
Top customer reviews
I was excited to receive my early copy of The Fellowship, but I admit I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it. I can't stand the Young Adult genre as a rule, and have thus abandoned several attempts to read very popular books. I find most of them to have painful dialogue and lazy plots. Their dominance in popular culture is a mystery to me.
I say that to make the point that I am not in the expected demographic for this novel. However, it pulled me in immediately and I had trouble putting it down each night, way later than I should have. The characters are complex and real. The plot isn't convoluted, but there are some surprising twists and turns. The protagonists aren't all good and neither are the villains all bad. The dialogue flows very well and sounds authentic. There is a surprising amount of humor, subtle and otherwise.
As far as it's intended audience, I think teens and young adults will easily identify with Bekah as she struggles with her loyalty to her family and the growing realization that the church culture they are enveloped in is rotten at its core. There's nothing content-wise that any reasonable person could object to: It's G-rated without being saccharine.
I think The Fellowship's best feature is an unusually honest and nuanced look at a cult-like church. The author has some experience with a national organization with many similarities, and most people will find their practices and beliefs to be eye-opening. Even though it's fiction, it feels like a documentary.
I may not be able to create something like this book, but I do know good writing and a good story when I read it, and that's what this is. I recommend it without reservation.
Bekah's story of leaving, rejoining and then finally permanently escaping the Fellowship is compelling, full of rich, realistic characters. I appreciated that the antagonists are drawn with humanity--showing how easy it is for well-meaning leaders to become drunk on their own power. I also found interesting the way many of the characters used humor to deal with the burdensome lifestyle of rules. It seemed that the Fellowship forced its adherents into two camps: sarcasm or guilt. Despite the topic, I laughed aloud in several places at the witty use of Scripture or old hymns.
I recommend The Fellowship to anyone interested in understanding why some Christians get sucked into a twisted, legalistic version of their faith. Readers who have a history in such a community will find the story painful, but ultimately cathartic. I have only brushed against such communities before, but I still found myself processing several of the key ideas presented in the story several days later.
I spent my teens and early twenties in an organization very similar to The Fellowship. This book brought back so many memories, both good and bad. The author does an amazing job of putting the you in the center of the action. Bekah's longing to find God and follow God in all the familiar ways was so clearly portrayed, as was the heartache of having her dreams crushed by those in authority over her. I could so identify with the characters in the book, so much so that I could picture the people in my own past that filled those roles.
Those of you who have spent any time in a Christian sub-culture should grab this book immediately! It will open old wounds, but it will also bring healing and understanding. Those who are curious about what life was like in a Christian sub-culture, should definitely pick this up! No reality tv show could more clearly articulate what life was like on the inside. And for those of you just looking for a great book with a fabulous story line, this is the book for you! You'll love it!
The Fellowship is a well-executed novel based on what at first glance may appear to be an improbable setting, but that I know from personal experience is far from imaginary. Any one of my friends growing up could have been Bekah, and indeed, many of us had very similar and all too genuine experiences as teens and young adults. It's also no stretch to relate the culture and teachings of The Fellowship of True Christian Churches to those espoused by many current religious organizations, including those related to TV's favorite incredibly large family.
Sara Roberts Jones writes with humor, compassion, and insight into what makes each of her characters tick. As I read, I grew to love the characters and feel for them, and was surprised to find myself brushing away poignant tears at the story's conclusion, both at the WAY it ended, and because it HAD ended!
If you are interested in a book with a strong female lead who grows in courage and increasing wholeness and freedom over the course of the story, you'll enjoy this novel. If you've experienced or are curious about authoritarian, high-demand religious environments, you will find the story even more compelling.
Most recent customer reviews
The writing style is witty and engaging, with enough humor to keep the dark...Read more