Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Rapture of Canaan

The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds was published in 1995, and I just got around to reading it. I ended up loving this book. I had trouble, at first, getting into it, but I think that was my problem, not the book! I was distracted while reading the first couple of chapters, and had trouble following the story, but once I settled into the book, I really liked it.

It is the story of a young girl, Ninah, who lives in a very strict, "religious" community, that her grandfather started (ie. made up). She finds herself attracted to a young boy, James, and becomes his "prayer partner". She became pregnant by James and when she tells him, he is quite frightened by what the community might do to him, as the leader/grandfather is very harsh on "sinners". Shortly before Ninah became pregnant,one of the young men was found guilty of drinking and his punishment was to spend the night in an open grave. James was terrified of what might be done to him, Ninah and the baby.

James handles the situation in a horrifying way, leaving Ninah to go through the pregnancy alone. She stays with her grandparents, and is isolated from the rest of the community. Her grandmother, Nana, takes care of her, both emotionally and physically, until the baby is born.

I am leaving out lots of stuff here, because the story is so good, I don't want to give anything away.

The story tells of Ninah's strength, courage, and moral convictions. Her ability to be resilient despite all of the religiosity is uplifting and amazing.

On a personal note, Nana reminded me a great deal of my own dear sweet Nanya, my grandmother, who was always there for me with unconditional love and support. That made the book even more enjoyable for me!