Sinner by Sierra Simone Book Review and Recommendation
In Sierra Simone‘s own words, Sinner is a book about “God, sex, death, belief and unbelief.” A good friend recommended this book, and I’m so glad she did. Sinner sends your mind on twisted rides and mental digressions.
Sierra Simone paints a portrait of theodicy with skill and ease. In Sinner, Sierra Simone makes the reader think. My mind spun off on a dozen tangents while reading this book. And I’m an atheist. The book may be even more profound for a believer. Well-crafted. Well done. Sean and Zenny’s love story is a love story that is so much more.
When Sean’s mother succumbs to cancer, my eyes filled with tears. Tears because the moment is so well told it seemed I was back in the hospice room with my father.
Belief and Unbelief
As an Atheist, I would argue Sinner isn’t so much about unbelief. Sean hates God, and you can’t hate someone you don’t believe exists. Sean, and his family, struggle with forgiving God for horrible things. An atheist doesn’t bear this struggle. We don’t believe in a magical mystical superpower behind the curtain controlling everything. Science, the order (or disorder) of the universe dictates bad things happen to some people (good or bad).
Thousands of children have been molested at the hands of priests. The Kansas City Bell family grapples with how to accept their daughter/sister is one of those victims. Of course, asking adults to swear off sex increases the likelihood of said adults caving into temptation and molesting children. Or, one could argue, the practice of giving up sex attracts sexual deviants to the religion as a way to hide from the demon within.
I find it interesting that leaving the Catholic Church for another denomination never surfaces as a possibility to these families. Yes, other denominations don’t have the mix of saints, demons, angels and popes. But, there are denominations that accept homosexuals and bisexuals (both families in the book have homosexuals in the family). There are denominations that allow one to devote one’s life to the church and become some equivalent of a nun or priest AND have sexual partners. It’s not really a zero sum game unless one sticks with the Catholic Church.
Zenny belongs to a fictional order under Reverend Mother that I kind of love. Reverend Mother believes in a Goddess and shuns the idea of papal authority. Without doing any research, I’m fairly certain such an order would not be seen as “Catholic” by Pope Francis. Just a wild guess. So, in a way, Zenny does find her own progressive denomination. That STILL asks nuns to foresake sex. That’s just one of my personal issues with the Catholic Church (one of many, I might add).
This book is a part of a series. Priest is the first, and the novella Midnight Mass is book two.