Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review: Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Title: Lila (Gilead #3)
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Source: Audible
Content Alert: Violence, some langague, prostitution

It takes a lot for me to give a book a five-star rating. It also takes a lot for me to fall in love with a book that is a sequel, especially a sequel to a sequel, and even more if I haven't read either of the first two books. I've heard a lot about Marilynne Robinson over the years. I've heard my friends drooling over Gilead and Home, the first two books in this series, but I tried my hand at Housekeeping a while back (one of Robinson's stand-alone books), and I hated it. So it was with a lot of reluctance that I started Lila, and I was surprised that within an hour, I was completely captivated by the story.

If you're familiar with Gilead, Lila is the story of John Ames's wife in his twilight years. She was stolen from a front porch at the age of about four, and lived a hard life until she wandered into Gilead about thirty years later. She doesn't feel worthy of much, and certainly not of becoming a preacher's wife. Lila explores her experiences with living a life she never thought would be hers-- especially with falling in love and having a home and a child, and maybe even at being redeemed. The book is beautifully written and thoughtful and nuanced, and definitely one of the best things I've read this year.

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