Grace by Morris Gleitzman

In the beginning there was me and mum and dad and the twins.
And good luck was upon us and things were great and talk about happy families, we were bountiful.
But it came to pass that I started doin gsins. And lo, that’s when all our problems began…

So begins Grace by Morris Gleitzman. A family epic of biblical proportions, about religion, love, separation, loss and religious persecution as seen through the eyes of a child.
Never has life in a fundamental Christian community seemed so funny and tragic at the same time, Morris Gleitzman handles a topic that, if told through the eyes of an adult, would be tragic and heartbreaking, with his usual style and humour. Grace is a precocious child, with an open and questioning outlook on life that draws the ire of her Grandpop and other elders of their community as she is branded sinful and mocking of the Lord.
Being sinful is confusing to Grace as she has never before considered herself to be a sinner. Throughout the book her best friend Delilah forms a one-child Greek chorus pronouncing damnation and sinfulness upon her “What if an ungodly sinner neighbour wants to borrow your lawnmower?” The pronouncements and dununciations that would be crushing and hurtful from a grown up take on a humour that is both mirth-inducing and heartbreaking.
Things come to a head when her family is split up by the community and her dad is excommunicated, from then on there is a dark undercurrent of fear and tension that runs alongside the humour of Grace’s view of what is happening. Although the style of writing is fairly biblical from Grace’s internal monologues, the foreshadowing of children playing Daniel in the Lion’s (and penguin’s) Den and the parable of the Good Samaritan this is not a story is not about Christianity, it is a novel of love, acceptance, family and belief in yourself and others.

Grace is a brief novel, easily read in one sitting, but it is beautifully written and will stay with the reader long after it has been put down!

I loved it!

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