Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely

A fearless debut novel about the restorative power of truth and love after the trauma of abuse.

As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.

When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s.

The Gospel of Winter maps the ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent—but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and even faith. Brendan Kiely’s unflinching and courageous debut novel exposes the damage from the secrets we keep and proves that in truth, there is power. And real love.

The Gospel of Winter is an incredible novel by debut author Brendan Kiely. The Gospel Of Winter is a book that shows you the destruction of family and perverse way that religion can be used against innocent children. This novel touches on a lot of troubling issues, for a lot of people this book will ring too close to home, but despite all that, it is one I'm glad I read.

This was a very difficult book to read because of the subject matter but one you should read if you want to better understand the mind of someone who has been severely abused. The first thing you need to know about this story is that it deals with some heavy issues. The clerical abuse scandals that shook the world have not been forgotten, and likely never will be. And this story masterfully manages to deal with the issue of power and trauma and sexual abuse but these themes do overpower the story at times. Which is why anyone who is going through the difficult healing process should probably stay away from this book until they feel comfortable enough to deal with a lot of triggers.

This book deals illustrates how a priest has power over people and how young children can be victimized by someone like this. This book also shows how an entire community can be completely blinded to the abuse that goes on under the guise of power and goodness. This novel showed how the mind can repress memories. But what is most important, is that this novel shows the toll that this form of abuse can take on someone. It shows the ramifications, it shows the emotional and physical toll it takes on the body and soul. And for that I say well done. This book is definitely worth reading. But as I said before, if you have any prior experience with traumatic abuse I would suggest thinking long and hard about whether or not you can handle this read.

This book makes you feel.
Though out this novel we are privileged with watching Adian change and grow. We watch how he deals with the trauma, how he represses it, and denies it, and attempts to ignore it. He goes through everyday motions, and he pretends to be okay--to be normal. But then, slowly, we watch how it changes him, and eventually we watch him accept it. Adian goes through exponential growth throughout this novel, as does his mother, while some characters end up falling, they rise. From surprises and the shocks, to the sad realizations that come with father Greg and James and Elena, this book will take you on highs and lows, at a rapid fire pace.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this novel from the "Goodreads: First Reads" challenge, and though I love this novel, if I'm being honest, I also hated it. It is an emotionally driven novel dealing with a seriously heavy subject, one that hits very close to home.

This is the story of Aidan, a pill-popping, high schooler trying to cope with the dissolution of his an already flawed family. But there's something he's forgetting; something that lies underneath the surface of his mind. Something he's not saying. Something he can't say.
He's a mess.
And we watch him as he follows this self-destructive path and watch him as he attempts to deal with stuff way beyond the level that any human being, never mind a kid, should ever have to deal with.

There are really only two people in the world who he believes and trusts to understand him: Father Greg and Elena. But throughout the book these two people Adian trusted the most, fall in almost every way imaginable. I can't say that Father Greg and Father Dooley's betrayal surprised me at all, but Elena's did. By the end of the book we get some resolutions in regards to a few of the problems but a lot is left undone. All that we can hope is that per his last intentions, Adian does speak up and get help. I hope that the author will be writing a sequel to this book, it is something I'll be looking into. I would love for Adian's story to continue.

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