Sins of the Father

Chris Lynch, Author . HarperCollins $16.99 (232p) ISBN 978-0-06-074037-5

Secrets and their devastating effects is the theme of Lynch's (Freewill ) intense novel that hints at sexual abuse by a priest. Narrator Drew, Skitz and Hector attend a Catholic school and have been friends since their first day, but this year, the year of their Confirmation, threatens to unravel the tribe. Skitz may be expelled from Blessed Sacrament, while Hector, ("the most Dudley Do-Right guy there is") acts as if he's guilty of something. Helplessly, Drew watches as Hector consumes excessive amounts of St. Joseph's aspirin. What is troubling his friend? When a young priest, Father Mullarkey, joins Blessed Sacrament, Drew is drawn to Mullarkey's unconventional opinions of religion and surprised by the man's nontraditional taste in music. On the same day that Hector, voted Altar Boy of the Year, misses attending a mass, Drew comes across a very hung-over Father Mullarkey. While talking in Mullarkey's private chambers, (a converted garage bay), Mullarkey makes what Drew feels is a sexual pass. Later that night, when a very drunk and stoned Mullarkey shows up at Drew's house to tell Drew he's been transferred, the boy begins to piece things together regarding Hector's anger. Told in Drew's sensitive voice, the story exposes the darker side of Catholic education, though one might question why Lynch chose such silly names (Mullarkey, Shenanigan, Blarney) for a book on such a serious matter. The book's humor and the depiction of close male adolescent friendship leaven the book's heavier themes. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/23/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 232 pages - 978-0-06-074038-2
Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-4804-0454-0
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