Amity & Sorrow Book Review

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Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  saxonsiren on Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:41 am

I found this book as a recomendation in the DM thought it would be interesting to read.A mother fleeing a pologramy cult with her daughters!!

Where to start! This book totally mesmerised me,made me really think deeply about how vulnerable people can be.The author captured every characters thoughts,actions & made you feel the characters were alive.

Amaranth
Had a tough childhood & found what she thought would be love in Zachoriah ( What a monster he became bitter & twisted until he is disposed- I digress)He took her too his Eutopia a sancturary of love! Yet she found an old lady there he nursed & desired to marry! He explained he had rescued her now the old woman needed rescuing & loved! In fact he wanted her land to build his temple his own world where only he would make the rules.The awful scene of him marrying the old lady then pulling Amaranth onto the bed making love to her whilst fondling the old woman truly repulsive! & so the pattern would start a new wife & Amaranth would marry each one & watch her husband consumate the marriage.A strange ritual all wives present to reinforce the family? Or Zach's Power? Later we find out how she felt betrayed with each ritual also the shock of viewing these same emotions in her daughters face.She could see away from the cult & Zachoriah how seedy how wrong it was.She ran with her daughters to escape when she lost her oldest friend wifelet Hope!
Amaranth crashed her car into a new world.At first bound by her fear & the rules then through survival for her family gaining confidence entering the house,fields & opening up to people.

Sorrow
What a twisted uncaring child/woman this character was.I wanted to find compassion & empathy towards her yet found I could not.She was deemed an Oracle by her father her visions helping him control the word of God! She became obsessed by her blue bowl even when broken desperatly trying to view visons through a shard of broken pottery.Sorrow was already broken emotionally & physically by her father & his version of the bible "Grapes of Wrath". She wanted more than being a follower & over time we find out her cruel streaks.She used her charms & believed she would carry the lamb of God inside her! An incesturous relationship with her father "God".She lost the baby in a dingy bathroom & although her mother tried to set her free from controlling thoughts/visons Sorrow wanted none of this.How ironic that Zachoriah's downfall came not by a man or god but by his own flesh & blood! It was she that started the fire in the temple! To obliterate all his offspring leaving her to create the lamb.This wasn't enough when she was showed preachers male/female advising the crowds of god.Sorrow now wished to be Father/God she would start her own Jerusalem!! Zachoriah pityfully old & feeble now would worship Sorrow.All that hatred all the fear Sorrow never showed compassion or love for anyone but herself.She was a bully a tyrant her fathers child

Amity
Where Sorrow saw visons Amity watched & kept secrets.These secrets would come tumbling outone by one to enlighten her mother,to free both of them.At first she clung to the wrist strap between her & Sorrow still aching to hear Sorrow give a vison,a plan to get home.She soon thou blossomed away from the Temple her young heart having its first crush on Dust.She had been desperate to become a woman to be spun & then to have a possible messiah! She told Dust of her "bleeding & pulled at his trouser buckle! Wrongly thinking this was what God wanted.It was Dust that helped set her free with kindness & showing her that her former world was wrong so wrong.He showed Amity social skills what to talk of & how to feel happy & fed her knowledge.Amity still believed in Sorrow even when she tried to burn her alive.Amity protected her taking her hands to heal Sorrow's blazing face! Again its Sorrow that is unharmed & Amity burned terribly.She had thought herself a healer first trying to stop the pain in Sorrow's belly & then the old man's chest & breathing! Was she a healer? The old man thought so.Amity thou mourning Sorrow at the end I had every confidence she would bloom in her new life.

I thought the book would be set in the 70's being set around pologramy the last of the hippy era! Yet it was modern day! Zachoriah advising God destryoed the twin towers of evil money(9/11) also advising the Waco Cult suicide.He kept his children from reading & writing so they only had his version of the bible.I didn't understand how the wives each year would just recognise Zachoriah would disappear for the Summer ( we later find out he went on the preacher circus made money & found new vulnerable women to marry!)
How awful for Amaranth to find out he had kept secrets from her the sheds of meth stocked with medicenes whilst she had used only herbs to help the ill.How wives had also deceived her with him She ran to save her daughters,she ran & found a gentle quiet man,a strong man that soon nursed her heart back to sing & rejoice not by rules or wives but knowledge,kindness & faithfullness.

I couldn't put this book down & found myself sad to let go of the story! I would give this book a 9.5 out of 10! Already the book has gone to a friend.I could write so much more in my review yet I shall wait until more reviews so we can compare

Sax


Last edited by saxonsiren on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:18 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : more info)
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  jingle on Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:12 pm

Unfortunately I can’t write a proper review of this book. Overall I liked the idea of the story, and found it quite a pageturner…until I turned to page 266 and found the next 60 pages of the book were missing!! Evil or Very Mad So I just read the final pages, with a chunk of story overlooked. Needless to say, the book is on its way back to Amazon now with a request for a refund. Anyhow, to cut a long story short (forgive the pun) I’ve had to read your review Sax, to try to make sense of the plot. Great review btw! Very Happy

Well, I found it an interesting book, though I’m not as positive about it as you Sax, and that’s no doubt partly due to the misprint. The main premise of the story seemed to be that physically escaping a cult is one thing, but mentally escaping from it is quite another. Overall I found it quite a disturbing and depressing book. I’m much less forgiving about the mother Amaranth than you are Sax. She seemed quite an intelligent woman who knew all about Waco and other cults. So to allow her children to be born and socialised in such a place, and especially to turn a blind eye to the father/daughter incest, was plain wrong. Also, I don’t think the author gave enough detail to her sense of guilt. Her refusal to initially go to the police, or to seek psychiatric help for her very damaged daughters, made me impatient with her as a character. Although Sorrow turned out to be an awful creature, she and Amity had been brainwashed from birth, and so I would pin a lot of the blame on Amaranth for her daughters’ instability.

I found a lot of the plot quite repellent, especially the consummation scenes. Yuk! I guess the interesting part of the plot was the psychological aspect. The 3 escapees weren’t able to shake off the beliefs, habits or even the clothes from their past lives. The two girls felt unsafe in the real world, and just wanted to return to their extended ‘family’. All the strange rituals, the belief in the Oracle, healing hands, spinning, forbidden fields, not entering houses etc, showed how the cult mentality was deeply engrained in all three of them. So the part of the book which dealt with the transition to the real world was interesting and I thought that was well handled.

I found the book a bit depressing though, there was a feeling of pervading gloom throughout. It felt at times like they'd run from one dysfunctional lifestyle straight into another weird set-up. The old man locked in his room, the farmer embittered about his wife leaving and his crop failures….too gloomy!! Though I suppose I did like the way the book didn’t become over sentimentalised.

The character who interested me the most was probably Amity. I found her relationship with the old man believable, as well as her naïve approaches to Dust, and her strong emotional bond to her sister. Sorrow was clearly mentally deranged and in need to psychiatric help, and so I found the ending to the book quite depressing. As you said Sax, Sorrow is the product of her father and her upbringing, so I still saw her as a victim at the end of the book.

Overall, while I thought this was an interesting idea for a book, it just didn’t quite do it for me. I found myself getting impatient with the rituals and the fundamentalism, and more annoyed than sympathetic with Amaranth. The ending was depressing, with a damaged teenage girl choosing to stay with her paedophile father, and there were parts of the book which were too uncomfortable to read. Altogether a bit too disturbing and grim. It’s hard to score the book seeing as I missed out a big section of it, but probably around a 6 or 7 from me.
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  saxonsiren on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:13 pm

Im sorry that you had 60 pages missing! Id have found that frustrating & very annoying!!! Your review thou sot on re all three were victims!! All clearly absorbed into the rituals,rules of the cult.For me as a mother yes I felt Amarath could of left earlier with her children yet being a victim herself of abuse she had become institutalised as the First Wife,her love of a despicable man.I felt she tried to advise the authorities yet failed due to her fear of HIM what consequences might happen.I also felt the authorities would have stepped in long before especially after the Waco Cult! The author managed to portray how deep a cult psyche can infriltrate your every thought & emotion.I felt the abuse of a cult similar to an abusive partner/marriage/parent the fear of exposure against the power of love/dependancy removing all logic & sense.
The farmer had a "history" where he had been abandoned by his wife he didn't become aggressive or ill manered to women.He helped out of instinct at first to these strange females!! His way of dealing with an aged parent was to lock him in his room! I found myself asking "Is this any different to Zachoriah's family being locked away from the outside?"
I agree Jingle with you re Amity & her growing relationship with the old man! How she grew to see him as not the devil but just an old man! They helped each other without knowing.The old man gave Sorrow her new "Jerusalem vison!" by taking her to see other preachers both male & female expressing their views & people listening.He I believed wished for Sorrow to see beyond the cult,how wrong,how false all the words were! Little did he know he would spark Sorrow's craving to become the mighty one not Father!
I would have liked to have had a little glimpse of the future.Did Amity go to School? Have counselling? Did Amaranth need psychiatric help? Could she forgive Sorrow? & did she in the end do the right thing & tell the police of her Daughters abuse at the hands of her father??

Yes some uncomfortable & repulsive scenes in the book yet for the story to be real the reader needed to visualise & feel the emotions!!! I certainly did!!! For missing 60 pages Jingle your review great & made some very valid points!

Sax










Last edited by saxonsiren on Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : more info)
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  jingle on Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:18 am

sax wrote: The old man gave Sorrow her new "Jerusalem vison!" by taking her to see other preachers both male & female expressing their views & people listening.He I believed wished for Sorrow to see beyond the cult,how wrong,how false all the words were! Little did he know he would spark Sorrow's craving to become the mighty one not Father!
Yes, I agree with you about the old man Sax. I wasn't sure why he was showing Sorrow the TV evangelists. If he was trying to cure her, it did backfire quite a lot! Where my book stopped, Sorrow was holding her first rehearsal as a preacher. I'm not sure what happened after that, but the next thing in my book was they were back at the cult and Amity had burnt hands scratch I'm assuming that was something to do with Sorrow?

Has your friend finished it yet? What she did think of it?
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  saxonsiren on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:11 am

Jingle I shall attempt to fill in the gaps!! Sorrow after watching a live evengalist with his son! She berated their words & advised the son could not see visons or be the innocent righteous one! She scolded the young boy in front of the crowd almost to the point of being physical until Dust stepped in.Sorrow went to practise her first "sermon" in front of The old man,The Farmer, Dust,Amity & her mother.The old man kept on at her, "Raise your voice Girl!" & kept heckling as any crowd would.Questioning her words, her interpretations,her motives.Sorrow getting angrier.Sorrow advised Fire would save them! Get rid of the false prophets! The old man & Dust poured scorn on her words.Bradley advised her she had been raped by her father it was wrong! Amaranth cried out I should have stopped it I should have stopped your father! Sorrow spat words of hate of her mother & Bradley's profanities upstairs how father watched them.How she was the true prophet & had the lamb of god until mother took it away! Amity cried out it wasn't mothet she had took it with her hands! Sorrow lunged for her! Dust stopped her & Sorrow ran into the fields
.Sorrow taunted Amity with matches if the dry crops caught fire! .Sorrow pinched a gas can & started spinning spraying gas & dropping matches.She spun & spun her skirts caught fire she called to Amity to join her.Sorrow looked on fire her skirt blazing so Amity ran & spun with her sister and took her sisters hands into her hands .Both sisters as one spinning fire Amity feeing her sisters rage..Amity's hands were now on fire badly burned yet she naively thought she had healed Sorrow.By chance Sorrow not burnt at all-the injustice of this did make me angry.
Dust angry how Sorrow always got her way took the truck & drove Sorrow back to her Father.It took them fpur days of driving then hitch hiking until she reached home.I really grew to like Dust to see his kind soul,his clear perception of Sorrow as a bully & spoilt by all.
Poor Amity's hands so badly burned & disfigured dressed by her mother with a poultice.We learn later they are almost claw like now the flesh scarred & twisted almost useless as hands now.

My friend already hooked on the book! & Ive found a local book club in a cafe!!! They meet 7th May curently reading "Driving through Lemons?" Its a mother/daughter/daughter in law & 2-4 others!!! Ill go to first meeting if the baby in family doesn't arrive before due date! Its held in the cafe 5:30pm so Early Grey not wine!!!
I advised re our book club & sounded intrested to join?!
I hope Ive got most of the points you missed in the book Very Happy

Sax


Last edited by saxonsiren on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:48 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : tablet playing up)
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  jingle on Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:06 am

Thanks for that Sax Very Happy It sounds like I've missed out that main turning point of the story!

That's great that you've joined a local book club - are you reading their first book yet? How often does it meet? What will your choice of book be? Do let us know how you get on.
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  saxonsiren on Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:27 am

Hi Jingle Very Happy
I felt the sermon was the catalyst to the story! Making Amaranth,Sorrow & Amity face the reality of the rape/incest! Sorrow still did not see anything wrong I felt maybe she had been scarred mentally for life?

The book club meet once a month! I will try to start the book their reading! Ive printed off the books we have read but wondering if that will come across as muscling in? She did ask what type of books I enjoyed & which ones I had read! I get the feeling they are into crime/thrillers! I did advise Amity & Sorrow & Night Circus as two books Id found thought provoking!!! What would you suggest as a book? Id worry about picking something to light & fluffy or too provocotive!!! I do recall we had suggested A Stones Fall?Fly fishong in the Yemen or Wolf Hall!
I will also see if any will join our online club as she seemed really surprised we had one runing!!!
What do you think?

Sax
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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  jingle on Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:50 pm

saxonsiren wrote:Hi Jingle Very Happy
What would you suggest as a book?
Hmmm, looking at the books we've done for our club, I think my two favourites have been Night Circus followed by The Report. Both quite original and quirky books, which gave us plenty to discuss. My favourite book of last year, not from our club, was Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which set during the Biafran war in Nigeria. But that was quite heavy-going to read at times.

I'm not sure about crime/thriller books, I don't read them much. What about a Shardlake? (I wish Mr Sansom would hurry up and write the next one!).

I guess you'll probably be able to judge it better once you've been to the first club meeting and heard what type of things they discuss. I've often wondered how a real-life book club works - does everyone get like 5 minutes each, or is it less formal? Is there a chair? Does the group give scores like we do? Will be interested to hear how you get on.

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Re: Amity & Sorrow Book Review

Post  saxonsiren on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:25 pm

Im not sure how it will run! Maybe a general discussion of book? May feel weird talking five mins in front of strangers!?As in a cafe may be relaxed. I enjoyed The Report too! Also before I go to sleep!
Still trying to write on CJ Sansom forum to ask re a new Shardlake! Maybe I could suggest Disollutions? I wouldn't mind re reading it!
Have you a book in mind for next month Jingle? Hope Amazon give you a refund

Sax

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