This book addresses several different topics, but the main topics are homosexuality and religion (conservative Christianity), which of course, grabbed my attention instantly because 1) I am a firm supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and 2) I am not particularly religious. Well. Okay, maybe that’s not 100% true. I just don’t quite 100% agree with the teachings of Christianity. (Not an attack towards the religion, just stating my view.)
In this book, Piper comes from a conservative family (and I mean crazy conservative). All the kids are good Christian kids who go around preaching about sins to sinners in public with their pastor father (their mum had already passed away). *shudder* Ugh, I can’t stand people like that. People who force their beliefs onto others. Trust me when I say that I almost threw my phone out the window multiple times out of frustration and my eyeballs rolled so far back only the whites could be seen.
Well, things started changing for Piper when she was cast as Romeo (*gasp* lesbo!) in her school play, and made friends with Tony, who soon after came out to her as gay. As she started sneaking around behind her family’s back to get to rehearsals (because, obviously, she can never let them know about her being Romeo) and hanging out with her new friends, she realized that all the ‘sins’ she has preached against her whole life weren’t as crazy as her dad made them sound like. She started seeing things from other people’s perspective and got to experience life outside of the box her conservative father put her in.
“And the realization slams into me with a force so urgent it nearly knocks me over: the world isn’t perfect, I love it anyway. God loves it anyway.”
So many topics were touched on in this book; friendship, bullying, the toxic rumour mill in school, homophobia, and of course, religion. I felt that Culli did a great job at distributing the weight between all those topics and I’m so grateful that she didn’t just make a half-assed attempt to discuss them, because they all played a vital role in shaping Piper’s transformation from a naïve conservative following in her father’s footsteps to a person who has her own beliefs and chooses to worship god her own way.
“And hating people in order to ‘love’ them seems awfully counterproductive. Wouldn’t it just be easier to love them?”
All in all, this was well-written. It was a good coming-of-age story, especially for those who have been practising religion based on what others are telling them to believe. You know what? I’m going to carry a copy of this book with me around (send me one! *wink, wink*) and the next time I come across a preachy homophobic religious person, I’m just going to pass it to them, tell them to read it, and calmly walk away. Yep. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?
I got an ARC from Curiosity Quills (thanks!) and this is my review of it.
Also posted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1751103264
This Above All is out now so what are you waiting for?! Go get it!
Author’s Blog: http://www.lindseyrothculli.com/