professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Another day, another city. Hello from Laredo, Texas, a 400 mile journey from home. Drove down here today so I can teach a grad class in children's lit tomorrow for folks who are studying to become librarians. Finished reading STAINED by Jennifer Jacobson this afternoon. It is a book certain to stir up some controversy as it relates the story of Joss, her longtime neighbor Gabe who is missing and her boyfriend Benny. Where is Gabe? He was last seen leaving a church one night, but now has been missing for more than a week. Benny attends the same church where he prays earnestly that his mother, stricken with cancer, will recover. Joss has not been to church much since her mother pulled her out of classes when Joss began to ask questions about the teachings of her Communion preparation classes. Now, it is the church that may be at the center of the sorrows plaguing Joss, Benny and Gabe. Also at the center is Father Warren.

In the wake of the revelations of priests who preyed on young boys, we have seen little fiction. Jacobson bravely tackles this subject as well as other aspects of religion in this thought-provoking novel. I was drawn into the story immediately, and even though I saw the direction that the story was taking, I felt compelled to follow. STAINED is a book that haunts. However, the hopeful ending is reminiscent of Cormier: even though the subject is dark, even though adults might betray children and teens, someone will be there at the end for redemption.
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