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Not Guilty cover 

Rape is a Four-Letter Word.

But it’s one that Christians need to discuss more openly.

It’s 1974 and Carrie Shepherd, daughter of the minister at Windspree Community Church, is a college senior with plans to be a missionary in Africa. Raped by a masked assailant, Carrie is so traumatized she tells no one until she realizes she’s pregnant. Refusing to have an abortion, she must find the courage to face her family, her fiancé, her friends, and a gossiping, angry congregation which may include her attacker

Can Carrie find a way to cope with the secrets, silence, and shame that threatens to tear apart her family and church?

 

I seem to be getting a few hard-to-read books for review recently. Not necessarily in storytelling abilities, but in the subject matter.

Not Guilty is a thought-provoking book about how wrong perceptions and gossip can destroy lives, and a lesson, in my opinion, for what not to do if you are raped.

I always have a problem with stories about rape victims because it’s such a heinous crime, and because I want the victims do to do the right things, like tell the authorities, not destroy evidence, and not feel like they are at fault. All things this heroine does, which made me want to yell at her. In fact, I actually moaned out loud when she took a shower and lied about what happened. Fortunately, the people around her, who love her, didn’t yell at her. Instead they showed patience and kindness, to which she ultimately responded.

The blurb gave a hint about the assailant, and I thought I had the mystery figured out. At the last minute, the authors threw me a curve. Well done!

This book has, in my opinion, some veiled Christian references that might escape those who do not know the Bible well, such as the names of some of the characters. The manner of the public disclosure of the attacker bothered me a bit as did the head hopping, even though the head hopping was neatly divided with pictures of crossed gavels to let you know it was happening. But then head hopping is a particular pet peeve of mine.

The authors intended this book for discussion as is noted in the second line of their blurb, and they included a set of chapter-by-chapter discussion questions at the end of the book which address the many issues this book raises. I think this book would work well as a discussion book or even a study guide since they have included a number of scriptures in the chapter questions. If someone you know is dealing with rape, gossip, and shame, reading this book might be a way to open up a conversation and help them toward healing.

Three stars for Not Guilty

If you’d like to know more about Teresa Pollard, one of the coauthors, follow this link to her interview on Wednesday Writers Welcomes Teresa Pollard.

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