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The Other Side of Silence: A Novel Paperback – January 10, 2012
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About the Author
Lauren Martinez Catlin is an author and poet who is committed to inspiring compassion through the written word. Her work has enhanced the efforts of A Minnesota Without Poverty, Breaking Free, Source Ministries, Justice4All, and A Beautiful Rescue. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a degree in English Literature. The Other Side of Silence is her first novel. She currently lives in Minneapolis with a very cute husband and a German shepherd.
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Pros: Incredibly moving, crazy connection with the characters, can't-put-it-down-before-2AM kind of book
Cons: Too short, ending a little abrupt (but fits with the overall tone of the book).
I can't stand most "Christian literature" (i.e., literature written by a self-professed Christian). It's fine when you want to waste your time on something saccharine-sweet and easily digestible (kind of like throwing on an episode of How I Met Your Mother), but when it comes to the real world and changing your life or worldview, it's basically useless.
A friend recommended that I read The Other Side of Silence and I ignored him for a solid four months for this very reason. I work in the prison system, and find it hard to swallow books that have no idea how the gritty underbelly (i.e. poverty, addiction, crime) of the real world work.
I finally broke down and bought the book and devoured it within a day. This is a book that sticks with you and makes you think about things LONG after you put it down. It's the type of book that needs to be read several times. Like other people have mentioned, the plot runs something along the lines of Crash or Babel, where everyone is interconnected. It follows people who are desperate in some way, and hear nothing but silence from God - until something comes from the other side of that silence.
Make no mistake: this book is not preachy. The way that the author describes various situations makes me wonder if she's an alcoholic, illegal immigrant, a rich doctor, a seven-year-old child, a yuppie marketing executive, and recently found out she's gay all at the same time, because that's how well she describes what is happening in the minds of all of those characters. To that end, the author does not pull punches. She - and her characters - live in the *real world*, and experience God in the *real world*.
My only qualm with the book is that it felt too short and ended rather abruptly. I understand the artistic reasons for ending where it did, and I have no idea what I would have liked to have seen instead (there's a reason I'm not a writer). This was just my personal opinion and didn't take away from the book in any way.
I've already given away one copy, and the friend to whom I gave that book is now buying copies for HER friends. I just finished it, and I can't wait to read it again. It's that good.
The issues the characters faced are poignantly real, and the author does not pull any punches about it.
The book deals with very different people in very different situations of life, relationship, and faith. Please don't be concerned; this book is nothing like "Touched By An Angel" Tv series. There aren't nice, neat little packages trying to make things look perfect or easy. There is drinking, swearing, and isolation.
My heart broke with these characters.
Get this book.