Friday, June 28, 2013

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim

The Outcast

Jolina Petersheim

Tyndale Books

In this contemporary story patterned after the Scarlet Letter, which is set in an old order Mennonite community, we meet Rachel Stoltzfus. Rachel has found herself being shunned after bearing a child outside of marriage and being unrepentant of her sin. She has found herself living with a kind but odd older woman as she faces shunning, a loving suitor, and the illness of her child that will set the truth in motion.
This story is told from the first person present tense, which I found hard to enjoy initially, but her story and writing kept me reading. The story is told from Rachel's first person perspective, and a dead relatives' perspective (Amos) as he watches the scenario unfold from his heavenly home. I really did not like the dead relative's perspective at all. I think my theology differs from the author's enough that I have some trouble with Amos. In one instance, Amos is asking God if he can “speak life” into a particular character. This is word faith theology (error) showing through. I did like how she portrayed that the plain folk are not perfect, but face sin like everyone else.

Overall, Ms. Petersheim writes an engaging story that is somewhat predictable but a good afternoon read. I just wish she had left out Amos' word faith theology, fortunately it's a small part.

This book was provided by Tyndale for review purposes. Reviews were not required to be positive.