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Child of God

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,387 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
In this searing novel, bestselling author Lolita Files tells the tale of a Southern family torn apart by the secrets it struggles to keep.

Everybody knows everybody else's business in Downtown, Tennessee. Neighbors while away afternoons at the local bar, swapping rumors about voodoo, incest, and illegitimate children. Usually they're gossiping about the Botens.

In this epic
Paperback, 369 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 7th 2001)
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La Tonya  Jordan
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Maraguite
Shelves: favorites
The first sentence of this book will keep you captived. The secrets this family hides our deep in the shame of unforbidden love. This story takes the reader in the dark places of incest, fear of one's spouse, hatred of one's identiy, and homosexuality. The family structure seems complicated with unwritten lines not to cross. The characters are so well written you the reader feel the anguish these characters feel. You laugh, cry, feel disappointed, and ashamed while reading.

The good message is th
Mocha Girl
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My nose was glued to the pages—simply stated I was fixated with Child of God from the first sentence in the novel through the end wondering how the whole drama was going to play out in Downtown, TN, Detroit and Lansing, MI. This novel has it all: voodoo/mysticism, murder, incest, family secrets, misguided emotion all wrapped up within primarily three generations of the Boten family. Files does an excellent job moving back and forth through time and giving each character their own history (even t ...more
Jessica Goodman
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps once in a decade will there be a book written so beautifully that the words move you so far beyond the page and into the margins where all the goodies are. This book is wonderful taken from Shakespeare and Flaubert and a dash of Hemingway here and there. The subject matter is a little tough but worth diving into. The characters will stay with you forever and have you wondering about the Auntie that know one ever talks about. Family secrets, lies, lust, incest are just a few topics in Chi ...more
Sabrina Berry
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best book ever!!!! Once I picked it up and started reading it I just couldn't put it down! Family taboo, secrets and incest in an African American family.....O no we don't acknowledge yet alone write about it! Ms. Files out did herself with this one. This book just needs to be made into a movie and I will be the first in line purchasing a ticket!!!!
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
dark yet beautiful read... this book will remain with me for along time. Def made me cry in some spots.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

First you get drawn in because it's all salacious and gossipy and whatnot, but then you're like, this story is not very good, this author needs an editor, but whatever, it's an easy read and everybody likes gossip, so you keep reading AND EVERYONE KEEPS DYING in horrible, horrible ways and people are like "oh man, I'm super sad about my dear family member dying" but no one is ever like "OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW MANY TIMES DO PEOPLE IN THIS FAMILY NEED TO BURN TO DEATH HOW HAVE NO
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm stunned. Never before has a book left me stunned. Briefly, this is the story of a multi-generational Tennessean family deeply mired in decades of incest and resulting births, intrigue, drama, murder, lies...If this was a soap opera, ooo wee!!!!! I should've known something was up with this book...the first sentence is "There's no sweeter stench than the scent of a burning baby."

Initially, a little confusing with all the different characters telling their stories during various years, halfwa
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Child of God at a garage sale with no clue as to what it was about. And I must say, I love when I stumble upon a book that turns out to be a great book!

From the very first disturbing line this book had me hooked. It is the type of book you just cannot put down.

I have read other reviews that describe Child of God as dark and I will agree the subject matter within the pages, rape, incest, drugs, murder, arson etc. is indeed very dark, the author never made this a dark book. I recently
Mahoghani 23
This is a family full of wickedness, incest and murderers. They're wicked by nature. They're used to doing things that are unacceptable in society. The conception of Ophelia was thru the incest of Grace and Walter, brother and sister and history repeats itself through Ophelia and Lay; brother and sister. Sukie, Grace's sister-in-law, committed murder by setting Ophelia's parents house afire. In return Grace's husband gave Sukie her comeuppance. This whole family is not without sin and no matter ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Marvelous! The author really takes the reader for a ride in this story. WHEW! I have read this book no less than 5 times since it was published and it gets better each time. There are so many facets in this story and it would be a great book for a class to read as an assignment. It's good study material for descriptive writing, family relations, deceit, hatefulness, etc...Just read it!
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. If you haven't read it yet, it's a must read.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book, I couldn't put it down, if you want something you can't put down, read this book, its excellent.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
..definitely a dysfunctional family..
Brooklyn Darkchild
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who love crazy family dramas
Recommended to Brooklyn by: I'm a fan of Lolita Files
I don't even know what to say about this book. In little, timy, postage-stamp-sized Dowtown, Tennesee, the Boten family is the strangest thing going, and the center of most of their tales. Well I wanna tell ya:
Them Botens would be strange no matter WHERE they lived.
Grandma Amalie is a Touch Too Close to her son Walter, who's a Little Too Close to his sister Grace. Walter's wife is a...
A Witch.
No let me stop, she's just a Root Worker, which means she's into Voodoo.
Grace's kids are So Far Out Ther
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book and it was ok.I was glad Walter found his peace.and Sukie was a mess.
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! Initially, I thought there were too many characters to keep up with, but all the characters were necessary to understand the background of the characters.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. In the beginning I found it hard to keep all the characters straight. The subject of incest is relpulsive. Beating a child to the point of bloodying his little body is appauling. Drugs, murder, betrayal, intimidation. I sought out this book because the Goodreads reviews were so good. I was quite surprised to find too much of the ugliness of life between it's covers in 310 pages. In the end, love does prevail which is somewhat redeeming for this story. While life is not ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Subject matter-wise, this was a painful read. But lyrically and literature(ly) - and I know the latter is not a word - this was one of the most amazing pieces of work I've read in quite awhile. Ms. Files' ability to take a complex and disturbing subject and make it a page-turner without making it overly grotesque or sensational is nothing short of fantastic and awe-inspiring. I'm anxiously awaiting her next project, but in the meantime I'm going to find everything she's written to date and read ...more
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
The story was written well, that's why I give it an OK rating but the story was too disturbing to get anything higher. The amount of instinctual sex made me very uncomfortable and I couldn't help but think that this was a perpetual sexual stereo type of people of African descent being drive by their libido. It's one thing to have a story about love, but to have a story about incest in a family that transcends generations is another thing. I didn't see any beauty in the pain or suffering of the c ...more
Denyse M-Charles
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a great book. The only thing i didn't like was the incest BUT everything else had me glued. Each chapter was well written, wasn't too drawn out, was straight to the point and had u reading on to find out what happen next.
Definitely gonna be listed as one of my favorite reads!!!
Dysfunctional family, indeed. This book was a lot more complex than I thought it would be. The characters are all flawed and vivid and original. There's a lot more incest than I expected but it's not too graphic, thankfully. I've certainly seen worse.

Although the narration does jump around from character to character, it's not hard to keep track of what they're all going through. The only thing that didn't make sense to me was the author's choice to label each section by year/years and then jump
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was hard to put this book down! I read it in 4 days and I was very sad when it was over. There are many characters in this book, I did struggle a bit to keep them all straight and the story does go back and forth in terms of timeline but it makes complete sense to do it this way. I highly recommend this book. It was very good!
Valencia Quarles Shelby
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a page turner. I hated putting the book down. The ending was not what I expected, but was entertaining nonetheless. If you don't mind the gore and southern twang, then you should definitely read this book!
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book within 4 hours. Picked it up from the library and didn't stop. Next thing I knew, I was at the end.

This story about a family, its secrets and redemption.

Definitely a must read.
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I recently remembered this book - I absolutely loved it! I read it on my trip to Miami for my 30th bday. The characters were so rich and the story was filled with the family drama associated with families rooted in the South.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! It was such a page turner. I found myself talking to the book and feeling the ups and downs of the characters. The ending was a bit weak, but the book was very juicy, I would definitely recommend it.
Amy Taylor
May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amy by: Book club recommendation
Before reading this book, you must think with a very open mind.
As reading it you will become upset with the character's test and trial. This book is an excellent examples of generational cureses,can they be broken? You will have to read the book to find out.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
A good read. Deals with Blacks in the old southern south set in the 60's. There are some really disturbing issues that this this book deals with. It also mixes in some urban issues. i would recomend this book as a good read.
Corey Matthews
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It brings you in and never lets you go! It's not particularly deep but it is strangely spiritual and though some parts feel completely unbelievable there is a sense of love that moves this story along. A quick read that isn't for the weak at heart!
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Talk about a generational curse .. Man this family was messed up and had alotttta sh*t going on and not in a good way... Great read if you can stand the incest, drama to the extreme , anal rape ( I had to rest a few days after that ) heart break...
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Lolita Files is a contemporary African-American author and screenwriter. Files has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
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