Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger. As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God. Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store. As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill. Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.
As a blogger/reviewer/reader/bookguy, I tend to read a lot of books. I tend to read a lot of books that I consider to be suspense or intrigue or thriller novels. Sometimes, though, a book comes along that attracts me for different reasons, reasons that I can’t really put into words. This book, “The Sinners’ Garden”, is definitely one of those books.
What do a teenager, his mother an ex-con and a cop all have in common? Sounds like the beginning to a very bad joke doesn’t it? In this case, these 4 individuals are showcased in their need for redemption. Andy, the teen, has been abused by his father and stays hidden behind painful scars. His mother has drifted mentally away and desperately wants to reconnect. His uncle, Rip, is being released from prison and wants to thrust himself into the role of the male figure in Andy’s life in order to right the wrongs of his past. And Heather, who is on her path of finding out who keeps breaking into the homes in town. Throw in a seemingly out of place flourishing garden and the Master Gardener behind it all, and you have the makings of a book that will stay with you forever. Do yourself a favor, GO BUY THIS BOOK!
I will admit that as a typical guy, sometimes the details of things escapes me. I’m not always as interested in how things looked like or felt like or what direction you went, as long as I know that there was a mystery that needed solving and you solved it. I do tend to skip or skim over text that goes into a lot of detail and there were times in this book that I found myself doing that. It’s important to note, though, that that isn’t a slam on the author, it’s just not my style of reading. Once I get the gist of what’s happening in a paragraph, if there isn’t dialogue, I move onto the next one. I loved how deep and immersed that I became with the characters in the book, almost like they became friends of mine. I would be interested in revisiting with these characters in the future to see how they’ve grown after this novel. My other thought on this book centers around what I feel was a main component of this book, redemption. I think there was a clear story line of redemption with these characters, but I think the author left out some great opportunities to wrap the redemptive qualities of Christ into this book. As I’m sure he was going for an all-inclusive audience with his book, it may cause others to feel a little let down that he didn’t follow through with the whole story of redemption.
Is this a guy’s book? This is not your typical shoot-em up, run-em down or kill-em novel. I would venture to say that if you are into those books and only those books, then you should avoid this book. BUT, if you are guy that can enjoy a book that reminds us of God’s love and attention, then you should definitely pick this book up to read.
About the author
Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. He is the father of two and makes his home in southern Michigan. Visit his site at: www.williamsirls.com
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