Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Surprises Everywhere


Handling Sin
by Michael Malone

I can't help but wonder why this book is not more well-known. I had never even heard of it until my sister E. said it is one of her all time favorites. Once I heard that, I was curious and had to read it. She is right - this book is a gem. Unfortunately, I was reading it when we got the sudden, shocking call about KB's death. It was about a week before I could pick it up again, and I am afraid I will always associate this book with that sad and awful time. That's not fair to the book, which is one of the best novels I have encountered in a long while. So, here's my attempt to get the word out that this one is worth your time.

Handling Sin has theological themes all over the place - redemption, reconciliation, surprise, unexpected blessing, unconditional love. It's a wonderful story. At first glance you could read it and think it is just a comedic romp. The book is certainly funny, but it's much more than that. The gospel reversal is everywhere - the character who initially seems like a fool is the wise one who ends up with the solutions to the most bizarre problems. The ne'er do well brother has the tenderest heart. The buttoned-up Protestant who thinks he knows the prescription by which we are to live life turns out to be the most clueless (although he opens himself to change in beautiful ways as the story unfolds). The retired Episcopalian priest/jazz musician is highly flawed but is also the one who makes the most sincere effort to make amends to the people he has hurt.

Trite as it may sound, this book will make you laugh out loud, but also will make you cry. It does what fiction should do - helps us see ourselves not just as we are, but how we might be. Handling Sin is a story that shows the sin that permeates all of us but also the gift of redemption that becomes ours when we surrender ourselves to God's agenda rather than our own.

Reverent Reader

3 Comments:

At 8/13/08, 12:21 PM , Anonymous Pam said...

Hey there -- this is our book club book for September. I've tried starting it twice but haven't yet been able to get into it. Now the people in my life who loved it are multiplying -- I'll HAVE to try again. Love to you, Pam

 
At 8/14/08, 5:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read this book three times and it still has surprises for me. I love it!

Erin

 
At 8/16/08, 8:41 PM , Blogger LeAnn said...

I am ready for a new fiction book. I will pick this one up. Thanks for the recommendation!

 

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