A girl’s got to read, this all Clutchettes know. So, to help navigate the ever-expanding world of books, Uptown Literati is here to provide a weekly reading list. We’re a fresh, book blog for cool girls and great reads (check us out on our site [uptownliteratti.blogspot.com] and we’ll be dishing on what you need to be reading now: classic tomes, sassy fiction, juicy tell-alls and every type of paperback in between. Happy reading!

Who: American writer Erik Raschke

What: Raschke’s debut novel, The Book of Samuel, is the story of a 12-year old boy receiving a spiritual awakening in the midst of social conflict and the nuances of being a pre-teen in middle America. The novel is imbued with Biblical references and spiritual crossroads that Raschke often presents in not-so-subtle ways. He goes so far as to take names from the eponymous book in the Bible and apply them to characters in his own story (Samuel, David, Jesse). Though many of Samuel’s, who is the main protagonist, virtues mimics those of his biblical namesake, in Raschke’s interpretation he is still an impressionable boy dealing with race relations, puberty, and disappointments. Samuel struggles with loving his father, whose devout adherence to God’s word convinces him to leave his family for a period of time, and his mother, who’s mixed feelings on religion often make her appear one step away from a breakdown. The Book of Samuel examines the behaviors of those who have found faith in God, and those who quibble with the logic that He exists. Ultimately, Raschke makes the case that God does, in the small incidents of our individual lives and in the overall development of our characters.

Why: Reading Samuel, you’re treated to a slow coming-of-age story that explores what happens when a young man or woman questions and ultimately walks into his or her faith. Raschke’s approach to whether you believe God exists is not didactic so much as it a testimony of his own belief. When confronted with either holding a grudge forever or forgiving the other person, Raschke reveals that personal sacrifice is necessary for a closer–and sometimes misunderstood–relationship with God. He makes a strong plea for forgiveness, or at least an openness to it, in order to release divine occurrences in your life.

Rating: 3 stars

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