April 30, 2015

Review: The God Box

The God Box
The God Box by Alex Sanchez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I've read and enjoyed most of his books now, Alex Sanchez isn't technically a great writer. His prose is sometimes awkward and sounds like it was translated. He's over-earnest, sometimes transparently manipulative with his pat characters, and incredibly preachy and didactic. In parts, his writing can read like a social worker's case files. So why do I love his books so much?

I will read anything Sanchez writes because his books have enormous heart. They brim with emotion, hope, and goodness. Usually, he makes me start crying about halfway through, and then I must finish the rest of the book through constant trickling tears. Which can get quite blurry! He cares so much for his characters, and they act in such lovely ways, that I'm a wreck. Plus I'm oversensitive about teen gay issues anyway, given how hard it was to live through those years, so his honest, direct, supportive, sweet, and heartfelt approach turns me into a puddle every time.

The God Box was no different. He's deepened some of his characterizations, but the prose still reads just so slightly off-rhythm, and there are huge passages of researched Bible quotes about homosexuality discussed in long presentations of questions. These are obviously planted by the author relatively inorganically, and also fascinating, and would give any young LGBT teen great information to battle the hate spewed in the erroneous name of faith and religion . . . without suggesting any kind of rejection of God or faith or spirituality. So that's extremely useful and so helpful that it seems mean-spirited to carp about the storytelling. Especially when the love for the characters overwhelms you halfway through and makes you shake with sobs. Not entirely sad sobs, either! Happy weeping, in joy and recognition and understanding.

So read Alex Sanchez. Read The God Box. It's an important, beautiful book.

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