Monday, June 21, 2010
Fatherless is fiction but at the same time it is a history of the Catholic Church during the latter part of the 20th century. Set in 1985, Fatherless follows Father John Sweeney as parish priest struggling with Church teachings as well as with counseling families whose problems are innumerable. Father Sweeney is the priest that many like; he finds ways to answer the hard questions to make people feel better even if his answers aren't backed by solid doctrine. But during a trip to Rome with fellow seminarians he's challenged and returns to his parish a new man - ready to fight the good fight and teach the Truth.
Not only is Fatherless the story of a priest but it's also the story of families; families struggling with many difficult issues. The Kealy, Burns and Delgado families set the backdrop as they deal with mental illness, unfaithfulness, challenging ethical questions at work and family relationships. Through their lives we learn about the inside world of cable TV and pharmaceuticals.
I very much enjoyed Fatherless; I have read other Catholic fiction and the inclusion of Church teachings has felt forced. Because of the careers of the characters in Fatherless, dialogue about Church teachings (contraception, pornography, etc) was easily woven into the book. Despite being over 500 pages in length, this book was not a difficult read. The story flowed nicely although at times the scientific explanations were a bit confusing. It's obvious from the extensive bibliography that the author did a great deal of research in order to write Fatherless.
This review was written as part of the Catholic books reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Fatherless.
On a side note, here is a review by a young woman (who just happens to be my 18yo dd)- so this is not just a book for middle aged folks.