Growing up in the Rovaniemi family carries the weight of numerous restrictions, and the knowledge that, without the belief, the family unit closes ranks against the “sinner,” while standing ready to accept them back if they “confess” their sins.

We Sinners was narrated by various offspring of this fundamentalist religious group, and from each child’s perspective, the cost of “believing” must be weighed against the loss of “non-belief.”  Rebellion is apparently a rite of passage for each of them, with some coming back to the fold, while others remain on the outside.

The outsiders sometimes miss the family unit, but the cost of belonging is a price they will not pay.

Moving in a somewhat rapid progression through the years, the reader sees each of the children grow to adulthood, somewhat accepting of the choices made, but with some lingering conflicts and guilt still clinging to those who remain on the outside.

Probably the most difficult and challenging aspect of such a belief system is the inability of the believers to accept views that are not their own.  The closed minds stand as a barrier to connections and understanding.

The author did a good job of showing the struggles of the family members, but at times I felt frustrated and even confused by how the choices were made.  I was especially astonished by how the youngest child seemed to slip away just when one might think she would do otherwise.

A thoughtful story that reminds me of some of my own childhood experiences and how rebellion is often necessary in order to find one’s own way.  Four stars.



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