Nancy's Reviews > Converting Kate

Converting Kate by Beckie Weinheimer
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Jul 29, 2008

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bookshelves: young-adult, july-2008
Read in July, 2008

After her father's unexpected death, Kate begins to question the conservative religious tradition that she has been brought up in. When she and her mother locate to a new town, Kate discovers new ideas, new friends, and is able to gain a sense of peace about her father's place in her life and his ultimate death.

I liked a number of things about this novel. Kate was a likable character and some of the novel's minor characters were well-drawn and interesting. However, the novel's primary focus, Kate's rejection of her traditional religious upbringing lacked subtlety. In the novel, anyone identified as 'Christian' was narrow-minded, ignorant and filled with hate. Non-Christians were liberal and tolerant. I'm sure many teens questioning their religious backgrounds do see things this starkly, but a more sophisticated view, which allowed Kate to question her beliefs while recognizing that there were good, loving aspects of the tradition she was leaving might be more realistic and helpful to teens.

I also found myself distracted by the fact that 'The Church of the Holy Divine', described as being a fundamentalist Christian church with cult-like overtones, was actually a thinly veiled version of the LDS Church. I think it might have been a more interesting and honest story if the author had been more open about this. It certainly would have provided a better context for the reader to understand the rich tradition and culture that Kate was choosing to leave behind.
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Clickety In the novel, anyone identified as 'Christian' was narrow-minded, ignorant and filled with hate. Non-Christians were liberal and tolerant.

See, I didn't get this. The pastor she meets was about as laid-back as I've seen anybody. I thought the book did a great job of showing many different attitudes toward Christian faith.

And my association for the book's church was the Church of Christ (Disciples), though I think some of the Baptist congregations in this area have a lot of similarities as well. The SBC as an organization isn't QUITE so cultic, but it's very dogmatic.


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