Thursday, July 23, 2009

Believe Me

As I mentioned previously, Believe Me by Nina Killham, is about a teenage boy who, despite being raised by an atheist mother, starts going to bible study and church with some kids from school. This really throws his mom for a loop, and like you’d expect, many conversations about the universe and heaven take place.

I thought Killham’s portrayal of a teenage boy was pretty spot on. Nic is moody, interested in girls, confused all around. He seemed a touch too smart for his age, but his parents are both college professors, so maybe his high intelligence is probable. I found it interesting that Nic was suddenly so interested in God, but I think the reason he responded to it had less to do with “religion” and more to do with having someone to talk to and believe in (God), knowing there is a place to go when you die (heaven) and just fitting in with a group of kids (his fellow students).

The book brings up the question: How would you react if your child decided to go against all you raised him to be? I actually think his mom, Lucy, handled the situation pretty realistically. Shock, at first, some anger, but then she just let him do his own thing. She was a bit judgmental toward his church friends, but I think his church friends were actually way more judgmental of her. His friends would actually say to Nic that his mom was going to be damned to Hell. Who says that to a kid? Nice.

The book was predictable in the end because (obviously) some sort of tragedy will strike so everyone’s faith comes into question. Is it enough of a tragedy to make either Nic or his mom change their beliefs? As I was reading I thought to myself, if that’s the case, I will not enjoy the ending. Too easy.

The book is quick, funny (Nic is pretty hilarious) and a decent story. There were some parts I thought were a little far-fetched or convenient, and some of the characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would've like. But overall, a decent read. I’m going to look into Killham’s first novel, How to Cook a Tart. I’ve read some good things about that one.

1 comment:

CMS said...

I actually had a friend in junior high tell me that I was going straight to hell because I wasn't a good Christian. Seriously. I remember lying awake at night worrying about it.
I think this sounds like a really interesting book. I have friends who found God later in life and embraced church wholeheartedly, despite being raised atheist, and I have friends who were raised in super conservative religious families who denounced organized religion altogether in favor of an atheist lifestyle.