Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
May I be frank? I’m aware of the stigma that African American literature*, even in the Christian Fiction genre, has in many cases: the stigma that says the books must be poorly written, raunchy, or both. I can also presume, according to my experience as a brick-and-mortar bookstore shopper, that a novel like Guilty by Association, especially on account of its cover, would be shelved in a place other than the designated Christian Fiction section in some bookstores.
So, for the record, I must say that this novel by author Pat Simmons is indeed well-written, honestly expressed without resorting to vulgarity, and unequivocally Christian. Simmons’s characters are human and relatable, dealing with human problems in this Jamieson family story that includes running themes of family genealogy as well as Black History. A lesson that Kidd Jamieson is taught about how to handle the value of the name he inherited is a most compelling piece of the novel.
Admittedly, even as a lover of Christian Fiction, I find that although countless Christians’ lives (including my own) are chock-full of scriptures and church services, sometimes a novel’s narrator or characters giving an abundance of scripture quotations or delivering large portions of sermons can start to weigh the story down. As with many themes, scenarios, and symbols used in fiction, I believe that less is often more, that deftly-developed biblical concepts or just a few choice scriptures can often pack a more potent punch, particularly the more critically-thinking and discerning the reader is.
Familial bonds and history, love and acceptance, romance–as a first-time reader of this author, I don’t think Guilty by Association was at all a bad place for me to start.
*Note to my blog readers: in light of my “stigma” reference and also due to my awareness of a certain misconception I’ve heard expressed in the book world, books written by and/or about African Americans are not meant to be read by African Americans only. 🙂
Other books in The Jamieson Legacy Series