Friday, April 08, 2011

On My Nightstand - A Complicated Kindness

A Complicated Kindness - By Miriam Towes

On the back cover:
A 16-year-old rebels against the conventions of her strict Mennonite community and tries to come to terms with the collapse of her family in this insightful, irreverent coming-of-age novel. In bleak rural Manitoba, Nomi longs for her older sister, Tash ("she was so earmarked for damnation it wasn't even funny"), and mother, Trudie, each of whom has recently fled fundamentalist Christianity and their town. Her gentle, uncommunicative father, Ray, isn't much of a sounding board as Nomi plunges into bittersweet memory and grapples with teenage life in a "kind of a cult with pretend connections to some normal earthly conventions." Once a "curious, hopeful child" Nomi now relies on biting humor as her life spins out of control—she stops attending school, shaves her head and wanders around in a marijuana-induced haze—while Ray sells off most of their furniture, escapes on all-night drives and increasingly withdraws into himself. Still, she and Ray are linked in a tender, if fragile, partnership as each slips into despair.
My thoughts:
This was a book club pick (translate to say, I would not have read this book otherwise).
I did not like this book at all.  I had a hard time believing any of it.  The stuff Towes talks about happening in this strict Mennonite town is ridiculous. 
Yes I believe Mennonite kids smoke, drink, party and even have pre-marital sex, but it the community is really as strict as she is telling us it is, I did not see how all the kids could get away with it all and there were no consequences nor this the adults seem to know about much of it.
I don't buy it.

I did not like her writing style and I really did not like Nomi (the main character), or her parents who seems more concerned with themselves rather than the well being of their children and the family.

My rating: 1 out of 5.

1 comment:

  1. I love how much you hated this book. I randomly picked it up at a book sale not knowing anything about it and am currently on page 2. If I dislike it as much as you I'm sure I won't finish!