3 Revolutionary Novels

Hannah Hassler AUTHOR
Committed to purposeful living and intentional choices.
Arts And Entertainment

Jan 08,2017

The following three novels are near and dear to my heart. Their messages have lasted beyond the simple season of life I was in when I first read them, and they are all part of my permanent library collection.

1 – My Name is Asher Lev

Quill Cloud

Chaim Potok has such a rich style – he truly captures the essence of humanity in this stunning novel. Although Asher Lev is a Jewish male in the midst of changing from youth to adult, the universal elements of acceptance and searching for meaning could speak to any reader.

As an undergrad, I was so frustrated with “art” and its interpretations, as well as how meaning is created. This novel opened my eyes to the artistic endeavors of others, and essentially modeled the internal artistic process to me in a way I had never had access to before.

For those of us who grew up with a religious background, there is also an incredibly moving transformation as Asher becomes an adult and has to navigate his own religious ideals and how they connect to his artistic expression.

2 - The Poisonwood Bible

Quill Cloud

This book came to me by surprise, and I went into it with no expectations or pre-knowledge. I walked away ready to buy everything Barbara Kingsolver has ever written, as I was moved so profoundly by her words.

A passionate family takes on a missionary post in the Belgian Congo, and finds that somehow everything that used to be ordinary is transformed into something strangely different on the great African continent. I don’t mean that there is a magical change, but rather that the things people thought they knew, believed, and understood began to shift and change. The family must reexamine all that they are, all that they thought they knew and had deeply believed, and each comes through the process in a different way. Anyone who has questioned who they are and what they believe will find tremendous value in this book.

The intersection of faith and harsh reality is a juxtaposition that has always intrigued me, and this book handles the topic in an extraordinary manner.

3 - Black Girl, White Girl

Quill Cloud

As a young, white female that grew up in the Midwest and attended a private liberal arts college, there are many immediate connections I was able to make to this novel. The deeper revelations, however, came from Oates portrayal of the protagonist Genna’s reconstruction of her African American roommates last months prior to being murdered.

The questions raised about race, privilege, and socially promulgated racist activities are sadly still too relevant today. If you don’t have much personal experience in this realm, this book is an excellent tool to help you start thinking through the way our society handles racially charged incidences, and what your role in that may be.

This novel contains excellent – if uncomfortable – lessons for all of us.

Has your life ever been changed by a novel? Your next great read may be listed above – take a chance and check one out for yourself!

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