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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan

I recently read The Raging Quiet, by Sherryl Jordan. (I posted on another book by Jordan, earlier this year.)

Although Jordan is known as a writer of fantastic literature, I didn't find anything particularly fantastic about the book. It is set in a time when people were too eager to believe in witches, and that is a prominent feature, but there is no episode of real witchcraft in The Raging Quiet.

I won't give away the plot -- you can find out more about it by using the first link in this post, I believe. I do want to muse briefly about a couple of items in the book.

Much of the book is about deafness. The leading character discovers that another character is deaf, and not an idiot -- which the local villagers, even the good priest who has helped the boy, have believed. The leading character, Marnie, a teenager, works with Raven, as she calls this boy, developing a sophisticated sign language. That causes her to be accused of witchcraft.

There is, as I said, a good priest. Priests, and Christians in general, are often portrayed as evil, stupid, or both, and, of course, we often are, or at least people who claim to be Christians are often evil. It is refreshing to read a book where a character who claims to be a Christian is kind, generous, tolerant, understanding, hardworking, and stands up against evil and ignorance. Father Brannan is such a character. It is hard to imagine a more selfless one. He does have flaws -- he gets angry when he shouldn't. But he sees, in Marnie, an intelligent person, one with some deep spiritual insight, in spite of the fact that she can't read or write.

A warning, for those who care about such matters -- although the book is written for young adults, whoever they are, Jordan has included some sexual activity -- not explicit. It is handled tastefully, and without explicitness or salaciousness. Some of it is between married people, but one such episode isn't. Father Brannan doesn't rebuke the couple -- he marries them. I guess Jesus might have handled the situation in the same way.

Jordan is a good writer. I confess that I went to the end before I got half through, and found out how it came out. Then I eagerly finished the book in the more linear way.

Thanks for reading.

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