Evanston Public Library's Reviews > A Complicated Kindness

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
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's review
Jun 05, 2009

Read in June, 2009

Nomi Nickel is a 16-year-old girl living in a Mennonite community in rural Canada and hating every second of it. When her rebellious older sister and long suffering mother flee for greener pastures, Nomi is left alone with her father trying to figure out what went wrong, where to go from here, and how to avoid her seemingly inevitable fate beheading chickens at the local slaughterhouse. The character of Nomi is beautifully written, wrenching your heart, tickling your gut, and punching your funny bone on nearly every page, with her fairly typical coming-of-age woes here thrown into sharp relief by the repressive religious community where she lives. Nomi’s achingly tender, awkwardly hilarious relationship with her father gives the book its sad, strange heart as the two try to prop each other up and move towards the future. Toews has written a coming of age masterpiece, equal parts Catcher in the Rye and Abbott and Costello. (Andy R., Reader’s Services)

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