Forgiveness and Life Lessons (Book Review)
I read Intertwined by Carole L. Curry. It's Christian fiction and inspirational, and it's her first book. I met Carole L. Curry in one of the writing groups I'm active in on Facebook, and she was looking for readers and reviewers. This is my first Christian fiction book I've read, and I liked it right away because she added a few things I wasn't expecting like a table of contents, the author's note explained what hell is in the main characters' religions. I greatly appreciated that because not only am I agnostic, but when I was trying to join one of those churches back in the day they never told me that in my five or six years of trying to join the church in three different states. Her explanations on the other hand, made perfect sense to me. I literally found myself reaching out and thanking her for that because the clarity was very nice even if I'm no longer a part of that church.
The book starts at the end of two people's lives; Catherine and Brice. They are sent to purgatory to atone for their sins, but there seems to be some misunderstandings. They think they only have to atone for the wrong they did to others, not the wrong they also did to themselves or their families. Luckily, they have Jesus to help them is his physical form. Catherine, Brice, and Jesus all are very believable characters. Catherine and Brice are scared now that passed, and they are goal-oriented because they both have someone they want to see on the other side who passed away years ago. They also have a stubborn side that's making atonement, learning lessons, and seeing certain memories very hard on them. I could relate how empathetic Catherine could be because of how she felt grief when she lost her own family members. I absolutely loved how I could relate to Brice because he grew up with crutches like I did. That was so cool. Jesus has, what may seem like endless patience, but when he sees memories that are too painful he does cry or fall to his knees seized by great emotions. Intertwined is definitely a novel where the conflict is man versus self. Though it was confusing to follow their memories, each scene was very important to resolve their end. I will not spoil the ending, I will say I personally didn't expect it to a point. I caught on as soon as I read a simple few chapters. I would definitely recommend this book because not only is it well-written, but it's also well-researched. On top of that the beginning of the book hooks you automatically.
Now that I got the story's basics out of the way, time to turn my focus on what the author, Carole L. Curry asked me to focus on. She didn't want me to focus on only the religious aspects of the book. Yes, this is Christian fiction, but the story is far more than that. It's also an inspirational book. The book is about healing, helping others, and how our lives are often "intertwined" with others in ways we don't even initially see. I guess that's what kind of drew me to the book in the first place because I've known stuff like that since high school. And in this blog I've highlighted things in my life that meant the world to me, but to the other person in the memory it was probably no big deal. That's how it works with our heroes as well. Some moments were extremely important to them but not others and completely vice versa. But I don't want to give anything away. 😉 There are probably bits and pieces of Catherine and Brice's lives you may find extremely relatable. Maybe it will help you have a conversation with family that you never thought you'd have, or maybe it'll help you step in the right direction. Only the most powerful books to an individual can give them that much hope or feel emotions with such intensity that they have an outburst. Below are some examples of how that worked for me.
I became more personally invested when the main Catherine was learning it was okay to be vulnerable in front of others and accepting help because I remembered learning lessons like that from family and friends on multiple occasions. Like Catherine, it was hard to accept because, "I didn't think [they'd] believe me... I couldn't stand to be around anyone, even myself." -quote from Catherine
A part that hit me closer to home was when Brice's daughter asked him if she didn't have her disability (Down Syndrome), would she still be her? It got me curious about if I asked my parents that or something similar about my Cerebral Palsy when I was younger? Did my niece ask the family a similar question about her disability (Spinal Muscular Atrophy)? If we asked, did the people we ask feel any more comfortable answering than Brice did? I talked to my husband about it and read him the few lines. He said of course Brice lied to his daughter, and my niece's family and my parents would have lied to us out of love. My dad's lied out love several times in my life, and because I noticed that's what was going on I always instantly forgave him. But at the same time there are few people who can tell me the truth without hurting my feelings, and Dad would be one. So depending on when I asked (if I asked) he may have told me the truth. Here's my take though: We are who are who we are because of all of our experiences. Our disabilities lead to a lot of our experiences. But it is completely worth the lessons. I recently went over this with one of my Christian friends that God gave me Cerebral Palsy for a reason, and she may not know why that is and I may not be religious anymore I do know how having Cerebral Palsy has enriched my life. I literally cannot imagine my life without the Cerebral Palsy.
Then when it came to Catherine again I felt this... It's weird that while talking to abuse survivors and being one myself and having someone 'it's okay' like it's okay said abuser did that to us that you also see Jesus say that. I don't think that's what he meant in the context, but he upset Catherine, an abuse survivor with those words, and that's probably because she convinced herself what the guy was doing was okay for months and maybe years before she realized otherwise, so now hearing anyone else say, 'it's okay' is simply too much.
As Catherine is going through her atonement she's talking about how how she wants one of her abusers to go to hell. Jesus first says, "You don't mean that." She of course says she does, and he explains that hell's more in our head than the fire and brimstone with demons. Her abuser will have to atone as well. It makes me wonder, would our abusers ever get justice in the way we see then since they don't see what they did to us as wrong? Of course when meeting their maker in this way there are things they'd have to atone for, but would any of the things they did to us even make the mark? It's weird to see that Jesus is like you need to let go, and you can't let go so easily. I had to go to therapy for years and was still in denial about who was responsible and who abused me, who deserved my forgiveness, and who deserved me to just forget them. Every time I read like that in any book I'm absolutely flabbergasted because that's one thing I cannot suspend my disbelief on. I've tried for over a decade in real like, and it took too much of a toll. But Jesus did handle it well in the end, and for that I'm proud of him and Catherine.
To buy Intertwined or learn more about Carole L. Curry follow the links below.
Carole L. Curry's second book is a short picture book she wrote with son titled "There's a Brachiosaurus in the Bathtub". It came out in February 2021.
I'd feel weird if I didn't add links to the disabilities mentioned above, so if you'd like to know more follow the links below.