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The Sin-eater's Confession

Bick, Ilsa J.

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Sin-eater's Confession
While serving in Afghanistan, Ben writes about incidents from his senior year in a small-town Wisconsin high school, when a neighbor he was trying to help out becomes the victim of an apparent hate crime and Ben falls under suspicion.

Publisher: Minneapolis :, Carolrhoda Lab,, [2013]
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 0761356878
Characteristics: 290 pages ;,20 cm


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Aug 14, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The list of positives is long:

- Great title.

- Great cover.

- Great dedication: "For those who think this can't happen: this book's for you."

- Great first paragraph: "Call me Ben. Okay, it's not Ishmael or anything, but the idea's the same. Wicked and repentant, that's me."

- Great second paragraph: But here's the truth: "I could be anyone from my town, or any soldier. People make assumptions on the basis of what they see all the time. In the airport, total strangers wander up and thank me for my service. Old guys want to shake my hand. Little kids want to know if I've killed anyone. And girls give me that . . . look. Come on, you know the one I'm talking about. And honestly? It's a little creepy. It's like I'm Batman. What everyone sees and imagines . . . it's not about me. It's the uniform."

- Great entire introduction and frame for telling the story in flashback (which I won't continue to quote, but you get the idea; needless to say, I was quite hooked from the start).

- Really excellent, accurate depiction of small town life in the Midwest. It captured much of the experience of my youth and teen years.

- Great pacing, building of tension and suspense, gradual reveal of information, and confessional narration.

- Honest, accurate ambiguity and uncertainty. As Ben tells us on the back cover: "I have no answers."

- Important, weighty subject.
The list of negatives is much shorter:

- Though I list the ambiguous, open ending as a positive for it's true depiction of life, I was left wanting. After nearly three hundred pages of build-up, I needed a stronger sense of resolution. The pay-off didn't quite measure up to the excellent journey; it didn't need to be absolute and final--it didn't need to be a conclusion--but it needed to be bigger. So I wasn't unhappy with the end, just vaguely unsatisfied and undernourished by it.
It's not quite a masterpiece, but it strives to be and comes close. It's an important book, a gripping one, and an entertaining one. It's one that deserves many readers.


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Aug 14, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

For those who think this can't happen: this book's for you.


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app10 Version produkt Last updated 2015/03/30 12:38