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Kind of Kin

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  990 ratings  ·  204 reviews
A richly comic yet heartfelt novel about people who want to do right and still do wrong, and people who do right in spite of themselves, as they try to help, protect, and provide for those they love most when a draconian new state law threatens an ordinary American family and throws a close-knit community into turmoil.

All of Cedar, Oklahoma, is shocked when Bible-believing
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Constance Squires
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I am a reader that prefers depth to breadth. I want to be pierced. I want the universal and the personal to eat each other’s tails, to turn into an infinity sign. For this reason, I am sometimes not satisfied with fiction that takes a broad scope. Often what you get is wide but not deep, more sociology than fiction. Rilla Askew knows how to avoid this pitfall. Kind of Kin is deep AND wide—a big, multivocal book, full of characters who all seem like people I talk to everyday, real as real. Set in
interesting novel but took ages to get going going though but source subject matter still topical in the states though
Ron Charles
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Rilla Askew’s new novel, “Kind of Kin,” sneaks over the border of literary fiction to make a case for more compassion in the immigration debate. It’s a timely argument, of course. Even while Mitt Romney was blaming his loss on President Obama’s “gifts,” Republicans agreed that their party must develop a better attitude toward Hispanic voters — current and future. As if to show the way, “Kind of Kin” spotlights a single American family dragged toward social enlightenment.

Askew, who has been a fin
World Literature Today
"Rilla Askew’s fourth novel is a brilliant evocation of Heraclitus’s axiom that character is fate—an ironic evocation she both confirms and turns on its head." - Jim Drummond, Norman, Oklahoma

This book was reviewed in the January 2013 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our website:
Sheryl Sorrentino
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an outstanding book. Engaging, vividly written and thought-provoking. Kind of Kin is an all-around great read that bears keen social witness to a contentious issue of our day (the immigration debate). Rilla Askew handles the topic deftly, with sensitivity, humor, and conscience. A beautiful ending, to boot.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Askew writes a very compelling family drama that features a very hot subject these days--immigration, illegal and otherwise. Religion, civil rights, extended families, and the economic struggles of blue collar families all come into play in this multi-layered novel of life in Oklahoma.
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
*Check out for other reviews and sundry thoughts!*

Oklahoma's best-kept secret is at it again, as Rilla Askew steps out of her usual historical fiction with Kind of Kin, a novel that touches on both the timeless theme of family bonds and the timely theme of illegal immigration regulation.

Bob Brown's arrest shocks the citizens of tiny Cedar, Okla. In Bob's estimation, he's "a felon because he's a Christian." In an exercise in radical discipleship, Bob agreed to hide
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have really mixed feelings about this one. It's got a lot going for it. It addresses an important, timely issue: How do we treat the "strangers"--illegal immigrants--among us? Once it gets going--and it doesn't take long--it's a real page-turner. And it takes religion--even evangelical religion--seriously as a motivation for doing right and pursuing justice. That's clear from the opening sentences: "'Your grandpa is a felon,' Aunt Sweet said. 'A felon and a Christian. He says he's a felon BECA ...more
PacaLipstick Gramma
Dec 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: goodreads-win
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.

When I read the synopsis I thought it would be more than it was. The subject matter is controversial, but I don't think the book really did it justice. I think it could have been so much more. The book is over 400 pages, and was so light in content that I just wanted to skim over it, but I wanted to be fair to the author. I wanted some meat that I could sink my teeth into, and I just didn't get it.

Some of the characters were not well developed, and di
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, religion

This is a very unusual book with the primary themes of religion, politics and societal values. The author keeps your interest while juggling multiple stories and shows that what is legal and what is right are not always the same. The major issue is the arrest of a Christian grandfather, Robert John Brown, who was sheltering a group of illegal immigrants in his barn. This is the beginning, but it is only the first domino to fall in a whole series of chains. The message that I took away from this
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
The text of House Bill 1804 or, to give it its proper name, the ‘Oklahoma Taxpayers and Citizens Protection Act of 2007’ might come as a bit or a shock to anyone whose prior knowledge of Oklahoma was simply that it is the place where ‘the wind comes right behind the rain’ (Oklahoma, the Musical).

In 2007, Oklahoma was the first US State to pass strict local immigration laws because it did not feel that enough was being done by the federal government initially to control movement across the Mexica
I read this awhile ago and never added it. I loved it at the time and intended to bring it up as a possible read for my former book club that most likely would have loved this.


I happen to love reading about small towns and deeply close knit people who get involved in "do the right thing" situations. I think people who love moving and beautifully told contemporary fiction will be moved by this book. I loved everything about it.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
Very timely and touching book about traditional rural people, farm labor immigrants, and family. The characters were filled out and rang true.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What happens to a family when one member falls in love with someone not exactly like themselves? The family dynamic tends to shift. Long held prejudices are challenged within the family and members tend to act and feel differently about those beliefs over time. Some are able to come around to the side of the family member who has brought in this “outsider” while others will cling even tighter to the way things used to be and resent the new norm even more.

The main character in Kind of Kin, Sweet
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-arcs
Georgia “Sweet” Brown’s life is spiraling out of control. Her daddy, a preacher, is in jail for harboring illegal Mexicans because her no-good husband, Tee, turned him in to the pompous, celebrity wanna be sheriff. Her niece’s husband, also an illegal alien, is deported and the niece need’s Sweet’s help. Her son is beating up her nephew, Dustin, who had been living with her daddy, but comes to stay with her and Tee. Dustin runs away and Sweet suddenly feels the weight of the world upon her. Can ...more
Mary Haney
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviews
Rilla Askew is an Oklahoma author who not only understands her people but also paints them in true colors on the pallete of her pages. Kind of Kin is an easy read, much easier than Fire in Beulah or her seminal The Mercy Seat , but this breezy narrative, nonetheless, is powerful and her voice is emphatic.

Sweet, the heroine, is Askew's signiture dutiful mother/wife/daughter trying to hold her world together against growing odds and is presented with the problem of an aging father taken to jai
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Kind of Kin is the story of an unconventional family at the heart of the debate over illegal immigration in Oklahoma. Set in 2008, when strict anti-immigrant laws were just starting to appear in legislatures around the country, it traces the consequences when a local farmer, Bob Brown, and his friend Pastor Jesus Garcia are arrested for harboring a group of Mexican workers in Brown's barn. The story then follows the effects of the raid for Brown's family, especially his daughter Sweet and grands ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I was an editor, Rilla Askew’s Kind of Kin is a book I would hope to cross my desk. Contemporary, funny, dramatic and, at the same time, as socially relevant as they come, Askew manages to juggle the multiple perspectives surrounding the immigration debate with both humor and compassion. While brutally honest about the political (and personal) imperitives behind legislative decision-making, Kind of Kin provides just enough humanity to both sides that it doesn’t come across as excessively prea ...more
Do you remember when you read Pigs in Heaven how you ached for Taylor and Turtle when nothing would go their way in Seattle? Be prepared for that kind of heartache when you start reading about Sweet and her young nephew Dustin. They are both victims in a way of the tragic choices of Gaylene, Sweet's half sister and Dustin's mother, and of the convictions of Bob Brown, Sweet's father and Dustin's grandfather, and of the laws and mores of Oklahoma. Askew shapes these two characters with such blunt ...more
Amanda Rhoads
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a wonderfully told story about both sides of the illegal immigration debate. It has the story from many points of view from the immigrants themselves to the families and communities that are torn apart when they become involved. Mr. Brown, a well respected community member, is asked to house some illegal workers for a day and ends up arrested for his kindness. His grandson, whom he's been raising, is then caught up in the fury of other people's hatred and his own confusion. He sets out t ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I love--a contemporary theme that really matters; a setting that is not completely alien but far enough removed from me that I feel as if I have entered a new world; vivid and loveable characters (some hatable ones too); a gripping plot, a lack of the annoying detached irony you find in so much contemporary fiction; finally, true sympathy for people who find themselves screwed over for no fault of their own. If you like those kinds of novels too, I recommend you read thi ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best novel I've read in three years. It's brilliant, compassionate, funny, and quite serious about putting its very real characters through an all too plausible hell. And Rilla Askew is kind enough to see these people through that hell to the other side, in style. I love it when a major work of fiction is also good for a few laughs and a lot of rapid page-turning. Don't wait. Read it. Then spread the word.
A small town in OK is caught up after passage of a stronger law involving employment of persons in the country illegally - this one reads like many of my favorite southern fiction novels - and it’s made very interesting by the way character’s choices are grounded in their faith. They may not all believe the same thing or the same way, but as a group most are people who are trying to live out their beliefs. Certainly church groups would like it as a book club option - but others will, too.
Nkeisha Francis
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book focuses on the themes of family, relationships, faith in God, friendship, trust, loyalty, etc. and how they all worked together to stand up against a law which affected their way of peaceful way of life in Ohklahoma. Though, I didn't find it was indeed an intense novel as the author builds the suspense for the faith of the characters. It could have been shortened and still maintain it's meaningful plot. Otherwise a good read.
Danica Ramgoolam
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that deeply expresses the power of family and community in the context of illegal immigration. Though the book has a message about Mexican immigrants it is written in a way that isn't preachy and lets us make up our own mind. Great book for book clubs!
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is not a relaxing, peaceful sort of reading experience. But it brings to life the problems many people are facing as a result of our current immigration policies. It gave me some added empathy for others.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another great novel from Rilla Askew, this one about a family in Oklahoma who are caught up in the midst of controversy and dissension in their community over illegal aliens.
Elizabeth (NC)
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: hive-100-2013
I liked the book, but the ending did not tie up enough for me. The entire story takes place over two weeks and a lot happens that is still in motion at the end of the book.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story within a story, within a story. Rilla Askew juggles several characters in a beautiful narrative for any age or reading genre.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunt Sweet says we’re grazers when it comes to churchgoing, and what she means is, the way me and Grandpa go to church is not right. We go to the United Methodist in Poteau, the Assembly of God at Dog Creek, Wilburton Presbyterian, Living Word Church in McAlester, just wherever the spirit moves us to drive any given Sunday.

They couldn’t be illegal; they were fixtures—they belonged here as much as, well, as much as Indians or somebody. Why would they just up and leave? “On account of that law,” t
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Rilla Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Askew's first novel, THE MERCY SEAT, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, was a Boston Globe Notable Book, and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Her acclaimed novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre, FIRE IN BEULAH, received the American ...more

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