Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SINNERS AND THE SEA by Rebecca Kanner

Let me start by saying that one of the things I like about this book is that its focus is on the characters and their relationships, it's not a sermon packaged as a novel.
Like a lot of people I’m sure, I never gave Noah’s wife much thought. Not about what she went through of the town crazy man who was building a big boat and certainly not where she was from. I also never gave thought to the relationship between Shem, Ham, and Japheth or their respective relationships with their parents. This book touches on all of that.

My heart ached for the young girl who, her mother having died after birth, despaired over her guilt in being a hindrance to her father having a new wife. I felt sorrow when I read her musings as to why her mother hadn’t killed her and about her having picked up the knife a couple times with thoughts of ending her own life.

When Noah takes her as his wife, he comes across as fanatical, brusque, and cold. That’s not the mental picture I had of him. (Not that I’d given that much thought either. I just knew he’d been a determined and obedient man.) And I certainly NEVER thought him to be a horny old goat or so focused on producing an heir that he’d “lay with” his wife so many times that she’d end up sore. (EEEWWW! He was OLD!)
The author does a magnificent job of  bringing this story to life. I don’t think I’ll ever read the story of Noah and the flood the same again. The story was so engaging I had to remind myself several times that it’s fiction and not a true account of what happened.

Like most, I know the story of how Noah was directed by God to build the ark and to bring his family and the animals aboard, but I never thought about what happened while they were on the boat and out to sea for so long.

One thing this story did for me is to re-awaken a long dormant fascination/curiosity about people in the bible. I grew up going to church every week, sometimes twice a week, and even went to a church school until I entered public school in the sixth grade. I’d heard bible stories all my life and wanted to dig further into some of them. I heard people’s names and an interesting tidbit or two and tell myself I’d research it later, but, somewhere along the line, I never did. This book reminded me of that.

Ms. Kanner shows us the relationship between the three brothers as well as their relationships with their mother and father. We see them growing up and how their wives were found.

At first, I was a little unsettled (for lack of a better word) with the depiction of the men in the story, feeling almost like it was wrong to portray them that way. But then I stopped myself. They were merely mortal men, flesh and blood, just like men today. Given their culture, I can understand them expecting women to be submissive. Who’s to say that they weren’t like they’re depicted in this story. It’s certainly very realistic.
I enjoyed this book and give it 4 stars. I can certainly see a series of this kind of book written for other wives in the bible too. I’d definitely read them.

** Disclosure:  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. I received no compensation, monetary or otherwise.

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