Most people know that I do not enjoy reading “tearjerkers.” I avoid romance novels (and math books) for this very reason. Emotionally manipulative books should die a slow death on dusty shelves next to used tissues. When I saw the cover of this book, I rolled my eyes and thought “Oh there’s another one of those.” But it wasn’t one of “those.” Look beyond the cover. This book has teeth.
Forgiven by Terri Roberts did make me cry. On almost every page. However, I was not crying from manipulation, I was crying because of the beauty that grew from this tragedy. The author of Forgiven is the mother of a man who shot little girls in an Amish school house. She leads the reader through a storm of horror, loss, and forgiveness. The Amish community effected by Charlie Roberts chose to forgive. Of course, it was a difficult choice to make. To most of us it was a surprise. This community did not just say, “Okay, I forgive you” and walk away. They protected and provided for the killer’s family. This absolution healed Pennsylvania families and carried an incredible message to other victims of violence around the world. That is real forgiveness. We all need a lesson in what real forgiveness is and the healing power that it brings.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review.
As an immigrant from Sri Lanka, Rifqa is raised in a strict Muslim home governed by the code of her family’s culture. The trouble is that her home is also filled with violence. It is a harrowing tale of a teen’s life trapped in abuse in which she fears no one will believe what is happening to her or help her escape. Rifqa literally runs away to save her life. These events occur in a country that guarantees freedom of religion yet Rifqa feels that her conversion to Christianity will be her death sentence. After her escape, she must endure more humiliation by being arrested as a runaway and living in several foster care homes (some of which were sub standard). Things become a further muddle when politics and immigration officials become involved. There are endless court cases and a life in hiding from her family and the press. Her only real escape was turning eighteen and becoming a legal adult. She survived and thrived by graduating valedictorian of her high school class and developing the confidence to live on her own. Alas, the trouble continues as Rifqa still lives in hiding while attending college and limits contacts with her friends because of the pervasive threats toward them. However, the book ends on a positive note as Rifqa forgives her family and makes plans for a life lived in freedom.
Rifqa’s experiences are related eloquently and left the reader completely absorbed in her peril. How many abused children are living with the terror of a violent parent in this country? How many teens are waiting for a safe and caring foster home? How many people would believe a troubled teen claiming violence at the hands of her own father? This book cries out for a response from each of us.
This book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.