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Small-town church life.

Abide with Me - Elizabeth Strout

I initially started this book eighteen months ago, for a book group. I didn't manage to finish it before the discussion and then other books came along and it got forgotten. It was incredibly hard to pick it up again recently, only half read, but the summer is always a time for me to finish incomplete books, so I read other reviews and the notes in my Kindle to remind myself of the details that I had forgotten.

I can see now why I had ground to a halt, because I wasn't really grabbed by this book - it was centred around a small-town parson and his family, and in my opinion, contained too much philosophy and biblical references.

 

Tyler is totally dedicated to the church, but his choice of Lauren as a wife was probably not ideal for the enclosed small-town life. She did not become involved in community activities and always felt everyone was judging her. Coming from a wealthy family, she tended to overspend and put a lot of pressure on the family finances. They had two children, Katherine and Jeannie, and life chugged along acceptably until she was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. 

The second part of the book deals with Tyler's reaction to the loss of his beloved wife, his struggle to deal with his grief and the effect of her death on their oldest child, Katherine, who became mute and developed behavioural problems. 

 

The novel was well written but there was a bit of a cast of thousands, I almost felt like Tyler, trying to put faces to all his parishioners. But my main problem was the theologising, sometimes leaving me feeling as if had attended one of his sermons.

I would recommend this book for church-goers and lovers of Christian fiction.