[KINDLE] ❂ The Book of Fred: A Novel Author Abby Bardi – Dolove.info
I was truly surprised by this book I chose it because I m teaching a unit on families in my critical thinking class and I thought a brainwashed girl from a religious cult moving into a foster home would make for an interesting discussion I grew so attached to the wonderfully flawed characters that I was ready to throw my book across the room if the author pulled a My Sister s Keeper on me There are five chapters or books told from different points of view In the first we journey with Mary Fred from The Outpost where her parents have been arrested to her new foster home She has never watched TV, never been to a big supermarket, and her parents don t believe in doctors or medicine She believes there s a big apocalyptic event happening in the near future and that anyone who is not a believer called Lackers will burn for eternity afterward She is, however, nothing but polite and her extreme naivete is endearing She is torn between her loyalty to her family religion beliefs and the wonders of the modern world The next three chapters are told from her foster mother s, sister s, and uncle s perspectives And I won t give away what happens in the final chapter called Revelations What I love about the way it is written is that it reveals the various wounds each character is carrying and how Mary Fred infects them with something that motivates them to change Very unexpectedly, Uncle Roy s chapter moved me the most and literally brought tears to my eyes.The book is a slow burn At first I wasn t sure where it was going, but by the end of the 3rd book I couldn t put it down It was as if Mary Fred s energy had infected me as well It is a true, if not unusual, coming of age story that touches on so many contemporary issues but does not get overly sentimental Another reviewer stated that her only complaint was that she couldn t believe Mary Fred would have been so non judgemental of her lacker foster family and assimilate so quickly into the real world, because it would take than a few months to undo 15 years of brainwashing I didn t have so much trouble with that as thinking that it was a miracle the students at the high school didn t pick on her mercilessly. This book was not at all what I expected With a cover like this, I expected some quirky, loveably odd book aboutI don t knowfish And possibly fish named Fred Wrong Believe it or not, this book is about religious cults and the effect they have on people I know, I know.seriously Yes, seriously Let s just say the jacket illustrator took some of the most random elements in the story and put them together to make a catchy coverregardless of if is insightful into the storyline Whatever.The book is about a girl named Mary Fred Her last name isn t really Fred, but everyone in their cult has to have the name of Fred somewhere in their own name, as it was the name of their founder The book begins with Mary Fred and her many siblings being taken away from their parents as their parents are incarcerated for neglect after 2 of their children die All of their children are then put into the foster system The bulk of the story from this point is about Mary Fred adjusting to life outside a cultic atomosphere, including watching television and shopping for the first time at 14 years old The family she lives with consists of a sweet woman who works in the library, her daughter who is the same age as Mary Fred, and the mom s drug addicted brother The chapters are broken up to be taken from the point of view of each of the different characters, producing a very well rounded perspective of the events taking place This is where the real charm of this book is located Observing the relationships built between Mary Fred and each of the members of the household is both endearing and intriguing as Mary Fred slowly assimilates into the life of a normal 14 year old girl The end of the book provides some real suspense as Mary Fred s mother is released and attempts to take her to the new cult she has joined, but comes full circle back to the foster home that has officially become Mary Fred s home In the end, I was surprised by this book It was far different from what I had expected and raised some good questions about needing to know why we believe what we believe. 1 What the 2 A whole lot of crazy went on in this book But I like crazy 3 I picked it up because it dealt with cults and that subject fascinates me I ve been reading a lot of non fiction books about people escaping from cults.4 I liked how it switched points of view to show the hurt and the healing that the characters went through.5 I wonder if cult members could really just jump so easily to a new cult when theirs didn t work out 6 Mary Fred is going to need a lot of counseling from all the crazy that she s seen in her life.7 I hope the Littles will be ok.8 I wonder if Mary Fred will be turned away from all religion from now on 9 I mean this book is seriously intriguing I just keep staring off into space thinking about it.10 I wish there was another cover because the teens at the library I m a teen librarian won t pick it up I think they would like the book, but the cover doesn t really appeal to the intended audience.11 I told my husband that if the main character died I was going to throw my book out of the car window I was that attached to Mary Fred.12 I also tried explaining this book to him and the words sounded ridiculous I kept assuring him that it was a great book but I just made it sound even weirder.13 I m not sure Mary Fred would have fit in at school in real life like the book lets her. I know I am enjoying the book when I am frantically skimming sentences to find out what is going to happen next I thought the story told, by four different characters, was ingenious Bardi did a very good job changing her style from each character point of view You actually felt like you went from inside one head to the other I thought the religious sect angle was interesting and unique It was comforting to finally read a book where the foster child actually has a good experience with the foster family AND the foster family falls in love with the child I would love to read another book by this author Told in alternating viewpoints, The Book of Fred is a coming of age story focused mainly on Mary Fred, moved to a foster home after her cultist parents views on modern medicine cause two of her brothers to die of curable illnesses Since Mary Fred was raised in an isolated compound, focused mainly on the teachings of a prophet named, well, Fred, she s at first astounded by such things as can openers, daytime television, and clothes in colors other than brown We follow first Mary Fred, then other members of her foster family.I found this book interesting, but it rarely kept that interest for long periods of time The concept was interesting but not as well executed as it could have been I liked the storyline, and the author is good at creating a sense of urgency during crisis moments in the book I felt, however, that the idea of alternating viewpoints wasn t used to its fullest For one thing, I didn t think each character had an individual voice At times I lost track of who was the focus of a particular section Also, each viewpoint rarely introduced any new concepts except for Uncle Roy, whose chapter contains an interesting twist If you re not going to introduce anything new, why not just stick with the same character Mary Fred was the most interesting one, anyway.Also, each of the characters was too mature Uncle Roy in particular His voice did not fit his actions whatsoever.Anyways, it s an interesting book to pick up but not one I plan to reread. Raised in a fundamentalist sect, Mary Fred is sent to live with an outside Lacker foster family after her parents are arrested for second degree murder Two of their kids died because they didn t provide medical treatment It s not a book that focuses on life within and or escaping a sect, as The Chosen One does Rather, it focuses on the characters mainly Mary Fred as she learns about and adjusts to life outside, but also how her presence affects the family she lives with Each character gets a turn as narrator, finally coming full circle back to Mary Fred.The book s strength is its focus on the characters, rather than their circumstances Mary Fred s naivet is endearing, but that s not her only attribute she s a 15 year old missing her family, trying to figure out a foster family with its own problems, and starting to question her religion When the book s narrators switch to the foster mom, foster sister, uncle, then finally back to Mary Fred it gives the characters depth, and even the initially annoying characters are understandable and likable by the end.Now would, realistically, Mary Fred have a harder time participating in her new life Would she need counseling Would other characters give her of a hassle Maybe Probably But the book is less concerned with presenting a strictly realistic version of a teenager leaving a cult, and with the personal growth and stories of these specific characters.It s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes the book so compelling, especially since it doesn t have a particularly exciting beginning one reviewer called the book a slow burn, another likened it to an old diesel engine, both of which are apt descriptions , but there s just something about the characters that pulls you in until you re hooked. I have never cared so much how a book ends and what the outcome will be for the main character I could not turn the pages fast enough and can therefore only pay the warmest tribute to Abby Bardi for a splendid creation This is a very moving read both well written and populated by people who matter to the reader I will not give away anything of the book as I urge you to simply come to it with a clear head and an open heart Wonderful Filled With Soulful Humor And Quiet Pathos, Abby Bardi S Boldly Drawn First Novel Marks The Debut Of A Joyfully Talented Chronicler Of The Quest For Connection In Contemporary Life Mary Fred Anderson, Raised In An Isolated Fundamentalist Sect Whose Primary Obsessions Seem To Involve An Imminent Apocalypse And The Propagation Of The Name Fred, Is Hardly Your Average Fifteen Year Old She Has Never Watched TV, Been To A Supermarket, Or Even Read Much Of Anything Beyond The Inscrutable Dogma Laid Out By The Prophet Fred But This Is All Before Mary Fred S Whole World Tilts Irrevocably On Its Axis Before Her Brothers, Fred And Freddie, Take Sick And Pass On To The Place The Reverend Thigpen Calls The World Beyond Before Mama And Papa Are Escorted From The Fredian Outpost In Police Vans And Mary Fred Herself Is Uprooted And Placed In Foster Care With The Cullison Family It Is Here, At Alice Cullison S Suburban Home Outside Washington, DC Where Everything Really Changes For All Parties Involved Mary Fred S New Guardian, Alice, Is A Large Hearted Librarian Who, Several Years After Her Divorce, Can T Seem To Shake Her Grief And Loneliness Meanwhile, Alice S Daughter Heather, Also Known As Puffin, Buries Any Hint Of Her Own Adolescent Loneliness Beneath An Impenetrable Armor Of Caustic Sarcasm, Studied Apathy, And Technicolor Hair And The Enigmatic Uncle Roy Is Alice S Perennially Jobless And Intensely Private Brother As Mary Fred Struggles To Adjust To The Oddities Of This Alien World, From Sordid Daytime Television And Processed Food To Aromatherapy And Transsexuality, She Gradually Begins To Have An Unmistakable Influence On The Lives Of Her Housemates But When A Horrifying Act Of Violence Shakes The Foundations Of Mary Fred S Fragile New Family, She Finds Herself Forced To Confront, Painfully, The Very Nature Of The Way She Was Raised With A Knack For Laying Bare The Absurdities Of Daily Life, Abby Bardi Captures, With Grace And Authority, All The Ambivalence And Emotional Uncertainty At The Heart Of These Quirky Characters Awakenings I found this book very enjoyable I really enjoyed how this story was written in the first person through the eyes of each of the main characters weaving the story together in such a way that you connect with each one individually The impact the main character has on the lives of the family she is placed with is so heartwarming Seeing her inner struggles regarding the cult lifestyle she was raised in made my heart hurt and frustrated me, but in the end she endured beautifully.