Review of Sins of the Father by Angela Benson
Overview from www.bn.com: God asked the biblical Abraham to sacrifice his son. But Abraham Martin's only god is money.
Angela Benson's Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided—a rich, multilayered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, of love.
My Review:Sins of the Father struck me at first as something that might be just a ho-hum read, something I could use to keep my brain occupied while I waited in line at the grocery store or waited outside in my car in the morning before going to work. It was much better than that.
Yes the setting was contemporary but the story it told was not all that conventional. The story starts with a man named Abraham trying to reassert himself into the lives of his illegitimate adult children. Growing up, they were supported by him financially but not in any other way. He never visited them, he never called them, he never even wrote to them. Why? Because they were children that he had with another woman.
He had pushed them both aside till his mother's death changed everything for him. He decided to honor her wishes and do right by them and it started with a small production company that he bought and asked his illegitimate daughter to run for him.
So far so good but then he tried to bring both of the adult children from another woman into his family which was previously just him, his wife and his legitimate son, Isaac. This part was not going to happen. His wife would do everything she could stop it, while the other son, Micheal is just looking for a way to get revenge on his absent father. Granted some of the others involved have doubts about the idea as well but these two are just itching for a fight, in some cases literally.
The story was very obviously a Biblical parallel story. The characters' names alone give that away. Isaac and Rebecca, Abraham and Saralyn, and Leah are all the names of characters in this book that mirror or are similar to the names of Biblical characters. The story of a father with children by two different women also mirrors the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible while the illusion to Esau as an example for Saralyn's son Isaac to not follow is also a hint.
The drama underneath it all is modern even if we may not personally know too many people who find themselves in the same situation as this family, we can still relate to their feelings. Too many children today grow up without a father figure in their lives so Deborah and Michael's story is relatable. There are also many children who grow up with high expectations from their parents like Isaac does. And many women have been abandoned when they are no longer deemed useful by their significant others. In that way, this story is timeless.
The best part for me was that not only were the plots and subplots in this book engaging, but the story itself did not have a lot of swear words or other offensive material. Of course sex was a part of the story. How could it not be? But it was not the focal point of the story, the human drama was. I can't be sure but I think this could be classified as Christian fiction but the Christian message contained in here, despite the similarities with the Bible, was not heavy-handed. It seemed to occur naturally within the plot and I like that as well.
There was one thing that struck me as a little bit odd. The author twice mentioned two members of the family having photos of themselves with two different presidents displayed in their offices and both of them were democrats. I am not sure if that was significant or intentional nor do I know if it is supposed to mean anything to the reader but it did get me wondering for a while. Why two democrats? But like I said, it was odd, but not a problem. I am not sure how conservative readers might feel about it. I just chose to say "hmm" and continue reading.
I can't really think of anything bad about to say about it. I liked it a lot though I can't say I loved it. I think you might too.