Book reviews, Christianity

Island of the World

This past January I bought this book for myself as a birthday present thanks to my parents who picked up the tab. Little did I know the book has almost 900 pages. Upon arrival, I thought the weight justified the price. I received it two Fridays ago, but I did not open it until the next day. From that moment on, I literally could not stop reading. I read while cooking, I read when my girls were having a little break from our morning lessons, I read in the night, until late, I read when I woke up and after I prepared breakfast for my husband, and before the girls raised up… I just read, cried, read some more, prayed, kept reading, became part of the world the book contains.

This photo was two days before I finished it on Thursday.

It is true that the book will change you. It will make you a better person. I realize this sounds very pretentious. It will leave you aspiring to be a better person, yes. It will have taught you about the Balkans conflict as the story line to really teach you about humanity, compassion, faith, life. It rekindled my wish to serve God, to pray fervently, to love my enemies, to show love to my family and friends.

As I was at the point where you see my bookmark, I did not want the book to end. This is how I spent the last quarter of the book, checking that there were still enough pages, and pondering if the end would match up the quality of the rest of the pages. It did. I am grateful to Michael O’Brian for writing generously. It surprises you when you least expect it, and it makes you go through all range of human emotions. I wanted to quote some lines to show you, but I already loaned it to a friend who was thirsting for such a read as this I described. And I gave it to her because I need others to discuss it with.

O’Brian researched three years to write this book, but his candid yet eloquent style is a rare jewel these days where writers constantly make use of bad language and explicit descriptions in the name of realism or literary maneuvers, and to infuse what they believe to be value or power to their novels.

This is by no means, much more than another historic novel. The author is a devout catholic, and I do not hold many catholic tenants as true simply because they appear as errors when compared to what the Scriptures teach, thus resulting in a religion of error. I do not agree with the author few hints toward the end of the book, of seeing people of christian faith as sharing ultimately a faith in God and having just different worship styles. But the novel is not about selling you catholicism versus other faiths, neither a cheap attempt to make all christian resembling faiths one an only. Much on the contrary, it is replete with a non moralizing denounce of postmodern relativism, atheism, condemnation of abortion, and a distinct uncovering of many symptoms in society that derive in abusive regimes that try to dehumanize its members.

While I disagreed with some of the author believes, those occupied a very minimal portion of the book, and still the book was well worth reading.

Now I am left with that feeling of knowing it is going to be some time before I ever find out another book like this in the fiction department, if I ever am as lucky as to find another book like this. As a consolation, I am back with many non fiction good books I have almost finished or not started. I have also, thanks to her, renewed strength to stop ordering some of the books free for bloggeers, since almost all I see offered lately is in the devotional category that has proven to be a waste of time, or in the christian fiction I do not like at all. I am reminded that, to strengthen my faith, the Bible and Bible studies are and will always be best.


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