John's Reviews > The Secret Scripture

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
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's review
Dec 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: library_books, audiobook
Read in April, 2012

I wouldn't have likely considered reading this one, except that it's scheduled for a Constant Reader discussion next month; my library has the audiobook, read by a narrator I respect, so I decided to go for it. That proved a struggle at first as the protagonist's Irish accent took a bit of getting used to, but that clicked in after a bit. Not wanting to rehash the plot, Roseanne goes through quite a bit of difficulty in her life, mostly at the hands of the local priest Fr. Gaunt - one can argue, I suppose, that he (like all of them) was a product of his time, but he seems to have had it in for Roseanne and her (Protestant) family. The book would've been grim, except that we're introduced to Roseanne as an old lady first, and she's reconciled to the events, which lessens the melodramatic potential. Moreover, the alternating chapters in the voice of her doctor helped diffuse each tense situation. While the writing is, indeed, lyrical, I'm holding back a star for the ending ... which I cottoned to around 2/3 of the way through the book. There's one aspect of the drama which I found so far-fetched that I just can't really reconcile it at all. That having been said, my final verdict: highly recommended.

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Reading Progress

04/04/2012 "I love the writing, and the narration is top notch. I'm finding the story rather grim, but Roseanne doesn't feel sorry for herself, so it's not a downer of a novel."
100.0% "Review to follow in a bit"

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