Friday, June 12, 2015

THE BELIEF IN Angels by J. Dylan Yates

Book Summery (Via Goodreads):Jules Finn and Szaja Trautman know that sorrow can sink deeply—so deeply it can drown the soul.
Growing up in her parents’ crazy hippie household on a tiny island off the coast of Boston, Jules’s imaginative sense of humor is the weapon she wields as a defense against the chaos of her family’s household. Somewhere between routine discipline with horsewhips, gun-waving gambling debt collectors, and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, tragedy strikes a blow from which Jules may never recover.
Jules’s story alternates with that of her grandfather, Szaja, an orthodox Jew who survives the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s, the Majdanek death camp, and the torpedoing of the Mefkura, a ship carrying orphans and war refugees to Palestine. Unable to deal with the horrors he endures at the camp, Szaja develops a dissociative disorder and takes on the persona of a dead soldier from a burial ditch, using that man’s thoughts to devise a plan to escape to America.
While Szaja’s and Jules’s sorrows are different on the surface, adversity requires them both to find the will to live despite the suffering in their lives—and both encounter, in their darkest moments, what could be explained as serendipity or divine intervention. For Jules and Szaja, these experiences offer the hope the need in order to come to the rescue of their own fractured lives. 

Book Review:

  • POV's: There are two alternating points of view. Jules is the main voice with an alternating time line. Her story occurs mostly throughout the 70's. Samuel's (Szaja) voice contrasts with Jules and starts in the 1920's and continues up through the 1970's. Both narrators are going through their own journey's of strife and adversity, dealing in the best possible way they can. The alternating timelines proved a bit confusing to me at times, but otherwise, I enjoyed the contrasting POV's.
  • Jules parents are horrible, horrible people. While I can understand that they both grew up in less than ideal circumstances, they seem to be stuck on themselves and cannot overcome their own issues in order to step up and become the parents they should be. They seemed incredibly self-indulgent and absentminded. I never got around to liking them or having any empathy for either one of them. At all.
  • Jules on the other hand, is quite likable. Despite all the crap she has to deal with, she continues to overcome and strives for a better life than the one she's been given. Not that Jules doesn't stumble, anyone would in her shoes. 
  • Tragedy strikes in the middle of the book and it proves to be an all time low for every character. It's interesting to see how each person copes in their own way. 
  • There's an underlining theme of forgiveness. See bullet point #2...I could not jump aboard this bandwagon. While I understand why forgiveness is important in real life, I just couldn't find a place for it in this book...especially in Jules story.
  • Overall this was a compelling novel that was difficult to set down. I highly recommend THE BELIEF IN Angels for readers who are looking for a more serious story.

Thanks to Chenery Press LLC for this copy.
Published May 6 2015/April 28 2014
This is my honest review.

Cover Art Commentary:
The whole time I read this book I kept thinking...what does a boat have to do with the story. About halfway through the story, you find out. This cover makes me sad.


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