Friday, 11 June 2010
Bad Faith by Gillian Philip - Five *
Cassandra is fifteen and the daughter of a Rector in the 'One Church' - a single religion rising from the many christian religions to not only bring morality to the populace, but also achieving political dominance thus creating a religious state. At the age of eleven Cassandra was involved in a road accident that caused amnesia as well as a fractured skull and damaged hip and she is still coming to terms with the pain and confusion this has caused when other events overtake, that is discovering the body that the synopsis mentions. With her boyfriend, her family and her confusion she struggles through and encounters feelings of betrayal, love, loyalty and fear. Plot twists? There are so many that it ends up plaited, but very neatly like a child's pig-tails.
I felt the story was a light hearted exploration of the idea of a religious state and Cassandra, protected by her father's position in the church, watched the political scene with a degree of disbelief. While I say 'light hearted' I do not mean 'humorous'. Yes, there are funny lines as there is in most novels but we are not talking 'Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. It was only towards the end, with gang violence, that I felt the mood darkened a bit although it raised the tension nicely and brought the story to a satisfying conclusion.
Written for young adults, I was impressed with the way it presented teenage relationships delicately and with no crudity or ogling. Would I recommend it to my 13 year old? No, because it's not her kind of book, but if she wanted to read it then I would be happy to let her and even encourage her, not least because religion has sparked more deaths than any other cause and this book beautifully, for me at least, shows the stupidity of it all.