Tonight is Christmas Eve. As millions of Christians around the world spend time with their families and open presents, their brothers and sisters in the Middle East are being persecuted for being who they are.
In Judaism, there is old saying:
Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue
This means that wherever you see an injustice or someone being denied their rights just for being who they are, you stand up for them.
The media likes to put the focus their attention on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The problem with being so hyper focused on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is that is takes away the spotlight from issues that are far more important. Ancient Christian communities in the Middle East are being decimated. Those who stay are given two choices: convert or die. Those who were able to leave their homes are now refugees.
This is not the first Christmas and it certainly won’t be the last Christmas. But I wonder, for the Christians in the Middle East living in fear for their lives, if this Christmas will truly be merry?
There is something about a big, empty, dark house. It is ominous and scary, but it also beckons you inside to discover it’s secrets.
Rebecca James’s recent novel, Sweet Damage, is about a dark ominous house and the secrets it keeps.
Tim Ellison is in his early 20’s. He works in his father’s restaurant at night and surfs during the day. The novel starts when he is couch surfing, his current residence is his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. When she kicks him out, he responds to ad where the person posting is looking for a roommate. The rent is cheap and he has one job: look after the house’s owner. Anna London is an emotionally fragile, agoraphobic twenty year old who has not left her home in a very long time. As Tim and Anna interact and begin to spend their free time together, Tim begins to see much of what Anna has tried to hide. Then things start going bump in the night and Tim finds himself attracted to his roommate. Who is Anna London and what secrets does she keep?
I can see traces of Jane Eyre and the works of Ann Radcliffe in this novel. A big empty house, things that force the hairs on your arm to stand on edge and a mysterious man or woman that the lead character finds themselves attracted to. My problem with this book is that it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Then the bottom dropped and I was left hanging as a reader. The end felt unfinished and rushed, which is a shame, because up to that point, I was riveted.
Do I recommend this book? If the end of the book felt complete, then I would say yes. But because it felt incomplete and rushed, I have to say no.