We Sinners

We Sinners- by Hanna Pylvainen - 208 pages
Book Blurb:
The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other? Each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi, drawing a nuanced, kaleidoscopic portrait of this unconventional family. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at the almost unbearable price of their close family ties, and those who stay struggle daily with the challenges of resisting the temptations of modern culture.
My Review: 4 stars
This small books if filled with enlightenment about sins, forgiveness, survival, belief systems, family and grasping how one grows up in a fundamentalist Finnish church, a sect of Lutheranism. Every page was deftly written to express the bizarreness of the protagonists’ home life, yet there was a sadness that bore through the very same pages as well. Without any judgement, author Pylvainen shares the emotionally rigorous lifestyles of the 9 children in this family. Decisions of whether to stay or leave the church are paramount in each chapter. How strong is family? How strong is faith? Who decided what is sinful? Beautifully written, well paced and interesting subject makes for a high recommendation from the good book fairy.
Quotes I liked:
- “She felt bad about the lying but the lies had to be told, so that truths could be told. This was how Matthew put it. He was the great justifier of her greatest indiscretions.”

- “Always there would be more to give, always it would be she who would have to give, and she had nothing left to give at all. For her there would only be the pittance of others’ pity. That poor mother, they would all say. You poor mother, the piano said.”
- Tags: Fiction, 2012, Other Religions

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