The Judas Ride by Peggy Sue Yarber
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
While I love an edgy story (and this book has lots of edge) it bugs me when the point of view switches so often that you barely feel what the one person is going through and then you are out of their head. Plus the author does not resist the urge to explain. While some of that info may be good info, it needs to be shown through the book, not explained and told. It's like taking a basic math class and having the professor explain about numbers and then branch into calculus. I was like, "huh?" The author has major potential when it comes to setting, description and quirky characterization, but the technique she uses is severely lacking especially when it comes to characterization and dialog.
The way the characters think and the words they use in their internal thoughts don't fit either. And I've worked with many, many domestic violence victims and none of them have begged to be hit or said they loved it. Now I understand when people have death wishes, but that wasn't how it was portrayed here. And there wasn't anything to like about Sonia so having two guys pining for her was weird. I just had a hard time liking any of the characters. Some of the sickest ones had the most spiritual thoughts. You don't beat someone half to death and talk about Jesus like you know him. Strange personality switches, everyone yelling a lot and telling people to shut up. It was like everyone was tense all the time. At first I thought I liked the pastor and even he ended up being strange. He shoved one of the guys he was supposed to be ministering to and it just seemed over the top and inappropriate.
Bottom line, I think the content in this book was interesting, but after reading 100 pages I still didn't get the point of the story. Then when I turned the last page, rather than thinking I felt a sense of completion like you should feel when you finish a book, I felt a lack of worth. It was like "why did I just waste a lot of time reading this story?" I hate to say that because it's not nice, but honestly, I wouldn't know where to begin to fix this book if I were editing it. It also had a dark theme. I wouldn't call it a Christian book, but a book of theological fiction. They debate theology, but I didn't see real faith in any of the characters, many of whom died by the end or were maimed for life.
On the good side, I loved a few of the scenes because they were so realistically done, like the scene where the boys went fishing and one was attacked in the bathroom and watched the worms die from the floor. I was "there" for that scene--including the ride home. Most of the others were very abrupt and frenzied-feeling. I don't like feeling negative tension. I did like the way each title began with a phrase from Ecclesiastes. That worked well. Unfortunately by books end, I had to agree. It was utterly meaningless.
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