Book Review: A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

It’s summer time, and whenever the weather improves, I go back to reading more than just the news.  I think it’s something about the slower pace of life that summer brings that inspires me to really want to get off technology and into a book.

A Book of American Martyrs is a best-seller and has been on my reading list for a while.  It captures the American abortion debate.  When a pro-life advocate brutally murders an abortion doctor, both their families are left without them, and the novel explores their feelings and lives in the aftermath.
What I liked about the novel is that while it sheds light on the stories of the two men, it also tells the stories of each man’s daughter and how she grows up in the shadow of her lost father.  Oates creates characters who are realistic.  They’re not easy to love but you feel for them because of their circumstances. Interspersed in the narrative are also interviews from people outside the story and their observations on the characters: these could be a girl’s teacher or classmate, or a family friend describing what they saw and how they knew the character. The development of families is also interesting and their struggles seem so real.
The book is lengthy, and the subject matter isn’t light, but if you like weighty books then this one is a good one to get lost in.
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