Rapture of Canaan
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Rapture of Canaan

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  23,674 ratings  ·  648 reviews
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah hasn't succeeded in resisting temptation her prayer partner, James and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and of God Himself. But the events that follow show Nina...more
eBook, 336 pages
Published April 8th 1997 by Berkley (first published 1995)
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First off, let me start by saying that this is not a religious book, it can be viewed that way if you want to, but in case you're one of those people that are scared off by religious books, this isn't one. Now, on to the more important matters...

Almost from the first word I had become sucked into this book and Ninah's character, a flawed, naive girl who truly doesn't know better. She's sweet, tries hard, but just doesn't know what she needs to know. The way Reynolds has written her, doesn't make...more
I just finished reading this book for the second time. I think I loved it more than the first. The only books I tend to give 5 stars to are books that make me want to reinvent my life when they are over, live a better life, and be a better person. This really isn't that kind of book but it is greatness through and through.

There were times while reading this book that I just needed to put it down. I knew if I kept reading I would get too sad. I was right there with Ninah, going through her strugg...more
Robert Pajer
Sheri Reynolds paints a vivid picture of "Bible Belt Cultism," as seen through the eyes of a teen-age girl named, Ninah. The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind is pastored by Ninah's Grandfather, Herman Langston, who, as Ninah says, "Used the Bible, of course, but only the parts he liked. He had the habit of altering verses just a little to make them match his own beliefs." The church of about eighty members is composed mostly of Ninah's family and Reynolds, through N...more
Melodie Ramone
I read The Rapture of Canaan over ten years ago and I still think of it from time to time. It's the story of a young girl, Ninah, who is being raised in a religious cult. Her only contact with the outside world is through school, where she and her fellow cult children, are shunned instead of accepted. Ninah takes this in stride, she almost seems to understand it without it needing to be explained. And that is the thing with Ninah throughout the book. To a degree she is brainwashed, she is naive...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2007 Tiffany rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: oprah's book club fans, religious fanatics, women
I actually liked this book a lot I would have liked it more but I wasn't so big on the ending. There was quite a few very interesting chapters in a vague disjointed kind of way.

It's the story of a young girl who finds herself in a bit of a position after she gets pregnant. She lives within a cultish community that is so far overboard they are fanatics lead by Ninah's grandfather who wasn't the same when he came back from war.

It's got both interesting little sides stories in it, as well as the...more
I think I give everything three stars. I think the star rating system is messed up. But, that's a soapbox discussion for another day. I enjoyed The Rapture of Canaan. Reynolds writing is top notch. It is however, very Oprah book club-- well written, well drawn characters, who go through a whole lot of crud. The good thing is the crud moves along quickly in this one. I didn't feel like I was bogged down forever, and looked forward to opportunities to read. On the flip side, I wish Reynolds would...more
A book of fanatical religious zealousness with abuses, torture, and mind control. Well, this can be viewed as that, or this is a story of how an innocent girl tried to emotionally survive in this kind of control.

Rich with symbolism, this story reads quickly and yet has depth and humor. The characters stayed with me long after the book ended. Well Nanna did, while I was deeply rooting for Grandpa Herman’s painful and brutal death.
Melissa Andrews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My original review (24-3-05):

'I had some major difficulties with the book though, for example: the narrator is supposed to be Ninah, but her voice as narrator (poetical, adult & educated) is completely different from her voice as a speaking character (dialectical: e.g. "ain't", "don't reckon", double negatives); in a related way, Ninah's almost uncanny insights seem too externally derived. I just can't see a 12-15 year old girl who lives in such an insular community having such an ability to...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
I have much in my mind about the ‘innocence’ of my youth that affected choices and events in my life. Reading this book has brought to mind many circumstances that I’d like to mark in reflection of what I’ve learned and experienced.

From as early as I can remember, my thoughts were naive and immature in regards to those around me. I remember thinking that there was no one to talk to about what was happening within my body. It is this type of thing that I've always tried to avoid with my own child...more
Excellent writing, I was hooked. This was one of those books that when I am reading it I feel like I am really there and when I'm not reading it all I can think about is that place and those characters. This book was astonishing and made me cry (it might be because I just had a sweet little boy that I love so much) I was constantly being shocked, disgusted and frustrated but somehow it was still beautiful and stirred all sorts of emotions inside of me (love, faith, hope, understanding...) it was...more
"The eye of a needle is like the gateway to Heaven," Nanna said, "Hard to tell who's going to be on a straight enough path to get through it." But I knew that it took more than being on the straight path. You had to be stiff enough not to bend when you tried to slip through. You had to be careful not to slip to the left or the right and think you were going through the middle all the time.

Having grown up in the Bible belt and attending my fair share of "fire and brimstone" sermons, I could total...more
Marianne Stehr
This book is like no other I have ever read. It is a complete freak show. It pretty much could not stand anyone in the book, the characters are crazy "religious" people and their beliefs are insane. that being said I also worry about how many people there are living like this is the world and polluting their children into these wicked ways of thinking. It was an interesting book, I read the entire thing in two days because I was hoping for a positive ending, I won't spoil it for you one way or t...more
Laura Lee
One of the best books I have ever read! It was loving and heartbreaking and inspirational. Ninah was born into a community of holy rollers, with strict rules and regulations. As she falls in love, she begins to question the way things are done. I fell in love with Ninah and wanted her to come out whole. She's a wonderful, three dimensional character. I cried at the end, when she is finally released in her love. Beautifully written. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
I love this book, this crazy, beautiful, powerful, terrible, incredible book. I love it, but it makes me ache deep down for this girl and her baby, particularly for her baby, and I want to cry. If it wasn't for that ache - I'd flip back to the first page and start over right this second.

Well conceived, well written, well played - it is perfect.
Jenny Rebecca
I read this book when I was around 19 or 20. I remember loving it so much. Now, more than 10 years later, I admit that I love it more than I did the first time I picked it up. Ninah's story still resonates with me to this day.

I love, love, love this really sad and wonderful book.

Reread March 21, 2010
This was a well-written (if disturbing!) book with lots of great characters and character development and is the first book I've read in a single day in a long time. I would definitely like to check out something else by Sheri Reynolds. Suggestions?
I really enjoyed reading this book! The intensity of religious faith was conveyed in an admirable, yet slightly disturbing manner. Including a story of young love among this religious commune seemed only necessary to complete the equation.
Rose N
I was far, far too young to read this when I did, and I suppose as a result it has always stuck with me. I suspect it did more to prejudice me against religion than anything else I read as a child. Which makes it excellent in my opinion.
The beginning started out a little slow for me, but definitely picked up. Toward the middle-end of the book, I couldn't stop reading. By the end of the book, I was wishing I knew Nana and Ninah in real life! I highly recommend reading.
I read this book several years ago, and have thought about it often. I couldn't remember the title so I haven't been able to recommend it to anyone. Such an interesting book.


Sherrie really takes you into the heart of her freaky religious world that is convincing and vibrant. i read this thing 3 times.
Kelley  C
Synopsis: Ninah is a member of a cult-like "church," the awesomely-named Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. Basically the church members are all related and the women can't cut their hair, have to wear dresses, condemn the sinners who aren't part of their church, use pain as punishment, etc. Common punishments are beatings, sleeping on nettles, and sleeping in an open grave. There are characters named Mustard and Barley.

MAN, I love this book. This is an old favorite,...more
This is such a hard book to review. It is the very raw story of a young girl growing up inside a cult. It is a stunningly crafted book with incredible character development and left me thinking about its narrative and characters every time I put it down. That being said, it was tough for me to read as a Christian. The misuse and abuse of the Bible and love of Jesus for the cult's manipulation was heartbreaking to read. The antagonist made me cringe, but the author wove him perfectly with just en...more
This was an easy and page-turning read. It dealt with some complex concepts and I appreciate that. Glad to have read it.

However, this novel was trying a little too hard, I think. The characters lacked depth and I couldn't always follow who was doing what, since the names were little more than names. I also felt that the main character's root skepticism wasn't well justified: why WAS she so different from the other people in her community? Overall, the motivations were shallow and I felt disconne...more
Rebekah Hawkins
Goodness I felt so sorry for this girl. Ninah is so naive and so sweet that it is hard for you not to like her. I wanted so badly for her to take Canaan and run. Her horrible grandfather, that I never liked, and her attempts to make him happy despite the circumstances. Ninah is one of those characters that you think you won't like because of how naive and almost stupid she is, but in the end you love who she turns into. I didn't like the ending which didn't tie anything together and just made me...more

2.75 Slow start, quite engaging middle and not too good an ending - ok but not great
This is the story of a teenager in a small off-beat evangelical Christian community. The author does very well in showing how extremely stringent and hard such a community can be but without losing out on the warm human relations that can also exist. Her characterization of how the young woman works out her own analysis of the little world she lives in is particularly fine. Fortunately, young Ninah has a grandmother who understands her and a father who does not accept some of the extremes that t...more
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Oprah's Book Club...: The Rapture of Canaan 1 21 Jun 05, 2013 04:19PM  
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Sheri Reynolds is an author of contemporary Southern fiction.

Sheri Reynolds was born and raised in rural South Carolina. She graduated from Conway High School in 1985, Davidson College in 1989, and Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992.

Her published novels include Bitterroot Landing, The Rapture of Canaan (an Oprah book club selection and New York Times bestseller), A Gracious Plenty (98), Fire...more
More about Sheri Reynolds...
A Gracious Plenty Firefly Cloak Bitterroot Landing The Sweet In-Between The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb

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“There's only so much room in one heart. You can fill it up with love or you can fill it with resentment. But every bit of resentment you hold takes space away from the love. And the resentment don't do no good noway, but look what love can do.” 18 likes
“Then I wondered if that's all God ever is--somebody who loves you enough to come back from the dead to visit every now and again. Or if that's all that other people ever are--different faces of God walking around.” 8 likes
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