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Amity & Sorrow

by Peggy Riley

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright

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Power Reviewer Diane S.

Amity & Sorrow
Cults, members of cults, a mother and her two daughters, a farmer in Oklahoma and his somewhat adopted son, Rust,and an old man, these are the characters that make up this debut novel. I found the writing addictive, this novel taught me more than any other book about the reasons people join cults and the effect that being the member of a polygamous cult has on its people. Amity, who is twelve, is the main narrator and we see the world through her eyes. When her mother takes her and her sister escaping from the cult and a fire that has a devastating impact, the girls are lost.

Having been raised in the cult the older sister Sorrow, wants only to go back to what she has known. I can't quite figure out if Sorrow is just really messed up from this cult or is she is a psychopath or both, but she was one very messed up character. We see through Amity's eyes as she eats her first Doritos, sees a television for the first time and meets a boy who is not her brother.

There is a perfect balance in this novel between looking back and experiencing now. I found it a very powerful book, one where questions are inferred in the beginning and the reader is slowly lead to the answer. Charity and love are sharply contrasted against greed and selfishness. The ending is a revelation and one that ends with a sense of hope
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