July 27, 2009

Review: Home

by Marilynne Robinson

Jack has not been home in 20 years. He was the wayward son, the misfit in a household of good, God-fearing people, the Boughtons. Rev. Robert Boughton has prayed for the day his son would return so he could offer his long suffering forgiveness with open arms. But Jack returns beaten down and unable to let anyone in except his youngest sister Glory who was too young to remember much about him, and thus, mostly ignorant of his faults and offenses. Glory offers Jack acceptance in a place full of cold shoulders and constant reminders of the careless and reckless childhood that has haunted him for so many years.

I have mixed feelings about the audio version of this book. On one hand I'm glad to have listened to it because I'm not sure I would have finished it otherwise. It's long and seems like it could have been boring. I've read other bloggers who have complained about that. After spending a while with it I am glad to have gotten to the end and found it fit just right with the character of the story. Though she did a good job of capturing the slow paced, meandering style, the reader of this audio book really irritated me. Her "drawl", for lack of a better description, grated on my nerves even while she gave each character they're own personality. She succeeded in the essence. I just didn't like her way of drawing out the sounds. It was a personal thing I suppose. Coincidentally, Maggi-Meg Reed is also the reader for my latest audio book, Prayers for Sale. Thankfully the part that irritated me is left out of this one.

I think there is much to chew on in Home. Theology is discussed amongst the characters. The questions of how deep forgiveness really runs seems to be the central theme. Those who claim to forgive us most are the ones who never let us forget by the very nature of how much they know about us. Can a difference in world views be forgiven or can it destroy all hope of relationship? What about forgiveness of self? Is there any truth to the saying that you can never go home? These are tough questions and I'm not sure if they were answered or if they were left open for the reader to figure out for themselves.

I liked this book but I wouldn't call it a favorite. It would be worthy of a reread(I'm not sure what you call it if you listen to it and then read it later) in order to try to catch some of what was elusive the first time around. If you like slow and thoughtful reading then you might want to give this one a try.


Rhinoa said...

I liked Gilead and will give this a go at some point. It's a shame it didn't grab you too much. Maybe it wasn't suited to being an audio book.

bermudaonion said...

I've had this book for a while - hopefully the print version will be better than the audio. I listened to another audio book narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed and I thought she did an outstanding job. Maybe I'm just used to a drawl.

Zibilee said...

This is another book that I would really like to read. I have been hearing mixed things about it and haven't yet made up my mind on it. DO you think you might have liked it better had it been read by another person?