Tuesday, August 08, 2006

[Book Review] OUR LADY OF THE FOREST by David Guterson

Fiction/Genre: Mainstream

Philip Williams reviews OUR LADY OF THE FOREST by David Guterson (Knopf, 2003):

Ann Holmes is a 16-year old runaway with a history of drug abuse who lives in a tent ouside North Fork, Washington. Ann claims to have seen the Virgin Mary while picking mushrooms in the forest. Her claim inspires local residents, such as Father Don Collins, the sympathetic local priest, and Tom Cross, an out-of-work logger who has a quadriplegic son. Thousands of outsiders come to North Fork, many of whom believe that miracles are occuring because of Ann's vision. Ann's intense faith and her certainty that she has seen the Virgin Mary have a lasting impact on everyone she encounters.

Our Lady of the Forest is not a light, escapist, or fast read. It is thought-provoking and, although there is some wry humor, the novel deals with serious and philosophical ideas. Because of some sexual content, some readers might be offended by the mixing of sex and religion.

Philip Williams, Whitehaven Branch Library

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