Saturday, 13 March 2010

Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy

Religious people fascinate me. I am drawn to the religious life (by which I mean monks and nuns), but to a large degree I can understand them. What I don't understand is blind faith. I don't understand why people believe the things they do (and what is it that I believe? Do I believe anything?). Which is why they fascinate me. So when I pick up a book at random and find it involves religious themes, I devour it hoping for greater understanding of such a large proportion of the planet.

Which is what happened with Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, by Rumer Godden. I recall Rumer Godden (and I'm 80% sure it was her) from my childhood, with books about small dolls that came to life. Or something. So I picked up a book of hers at random while at CAFDA and enjoyed it. So I picked up a few others, including this one. This book tells the story of a woman who, after being released from prison, enters a convent. The book covers both her new life and her old life, leading up to how she landed up in prison. It's also a story that appears to have been picked up by Catholic booksellers and made much of as a tale of redemption and salvation. To me the religious aspect of this novel is interesting, but not the focus. This is a story about humanity and compassion and the ability we all have to change ourselves into the person we'd rather be.

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