And If I Fall* by Robin Reardon
(*previously published under the title The Revelations of Jude Connor)
Themes & Genres: Gay Fiction, Psychological, religion, coming of age
Jude Connor’s rural Idaho hometown is a place of strong values and high expectations. For those who fit into the local church’s narrow confines, there’s support and fellowship. For those who don’t, there’s ostracism in this life and damnation in the next.
Jude wants desperately to be saved – to believe with the fervor of the charismatic Reverend Amos King, whose sermons are filled with brimstone and righteousness. But every time Jude thinks he’s found the right path, there’s a fork in the road, and Truth seems to be in a different direction.
As much as Jude craves the certainty the church offers, he finds himself at odds with it. Without intentionally rebelling, he befriends Pearl Thornton, considered an unrepentant heathen; he craves the support of Gregory Hart, whose church standing is questionable; and the feelings he has for his friend Tim Olsen make him fear for his own soul. But then Reverend King offers Jude sanctuary, special guidance, and a path into the Light.
Will Reverend King be able to help Jude preserve his place in heaven? Or will the reverend’s own demons cause hell to swallow them both? The answer lies in Jude’s willingness to follow his own path–even if it leads him far from everything he’s known.
What I think of the book:
Another arresting piece by Robin Reardon, although if you are looking for romance or something with lots of action, this isn’t the novel for you.
And If I Fall is all about understanding yourself and others. “Who am I?”, “How I fit in society?” and “Do I fit at all?” are questions Jude is constantly trying to find a satisfactory reply to. Also, “What is sin?”, “How do we sin?” and “Can we be forgiven for it?”.
This novel is a slow recounting of Jude’s life, of his spiritual journey as he matures, of his self-discovery. A lot of the things he’s going through are going to make you question yourself and your beliefs, even if you’ve never been in his shoes. In a way, this book is more a philosophical piece on religion, family, love, isolation, confusion and fear that a novel.
But it is so interestingly written and Jude is so sympathetic, that I kept turning the pages. Granted, he is sometimes petulant, but we meet his as a child, barely in his teens and he goes through many changes as he grows up.
I haven’t grown up around very strict Christians. Yes, Christianity is the religion of my homeland, but a lot of the people around me go to church only if it’s a holiday or if they’d been invited to a wedding or a christening. But even though I have no firsthand experience with the community Jude grew up in, I think that Robin Reardon has presented a very realistic picture of the struggles a gay boy would go through in a society where homosexuality is condemned.
Who would I recommend this book to? I’d recommend And If I Fall to people who struggle with their sexuality, especially those who live in very religious communities.
My rating: (5 out of 5; it was very difficult to pick an image for this rating, but I settled on light)
Would I re-read this book? Yes.
Am I interested in other books by this author? Yes.
Where can you buy the book?
- amazon.com (link takes you straight to the book)
Add And If I Fall to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Other books by this author that I’ve already reviewed:
- Waiting for Walker (standalone | LGBT, YA, Romance, family)
- Throwing Stones (standalone | LGBTQ, YA/NA, family, religion, acceptance)
- On Chocorua – Trailblazer, Book 1 (this book can be read as a standalone | YA LGBTQ Fiction, coming out, trauma, addiction)
- On The Kalalau Trail – Trailblazer, Book 2 (YA LGBTQ Fiction, self-discovery)
Want to know a little bit about Robin? Read the interview she gave me!
Have you read anything by this author?
What did you think of it?
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