Between Sinners and Saints
Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.
Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.
Erica Chilson‘s rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m having a difficult time deciding on an angle to review this book. Was Between Sinners and Saints the best book I’ve ever read? The most exciting? The sexiest or hottest? Fast-paced? The best written from a literary standpoint? NO
But Marie Sexton did something that is almost impossible to do… No matter how ignorant or homophobic the reader, there was no escaping total acceptance. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and still have a shred of doubt on whether or not Gay shouldn’t be an issue or why we are so arrogant to feel that we should have a say in anyone else’s love-life.
Sexton tackles some difficult topics: Abuse. Homosexuality. Religion. Family. And it is written in an authentic, non-salacious manner that anyone could relate to- or should relate to. I struggle for words to describe the book. Real is what came to me first, followed by authentic and raw.
Jaime was written perfectly in my opinion. I’ve read books about surviving abuse, and the emotions and actions of the survivor aren’t… real. I guess you had to have been in that position to grasp the emotions of not being a victim but a survivor, of not living but surviving. The difficulty to feel alive, even at small increments. When I read other stories of abuse, it feels false. There is no easy smile or quick to laugh in reality. You can ignore it until it creeps up on you, but it’s has a life of its own. When you least expect it, you’re frozen with dread. You are only partially in the here-and-now at any given moment- ever. No amount of healing will completely heal you. You embrace whatever happiness envelopes you and pray it lasts, and are thankful for people who understand and accept you for who and what you are. There is no trivializing it. Sexton made the abuse feel real, as if it were a character within the book- a myriad of emotions you couldn’t deny.
Religion: Whether you are a believer, sinner, saint, or atheist, I believe that religion is between you and your God. It’s not about a doctrine or a house of worship; it is your ability to own your actions and accept the consequences. It’s not my business what you have to say to your God. Why anyone else is arrogant enough to think otherwise is beyond my grasp. I just want to scream, “You wouldn’t ever renounce your faith and belief system, don’t demand me to renounce mine. & We will just accept the difference.” Sexton does a beautiful job setting a foundation for the religious issues within the book. Without bringing down the Mormon faith, the story spells out that faith is subjective- it is an intangible thing that can’t be explained, so how can it be black and white to so many of us.
I found Between Sinners and Saints impossible to put down- poignant. I can’t point out just one reason or even a dozen of the why of it. I guess that was the beauty of the read…