Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Devil in Pew Number Seven

The Devil in Pew Number Seven: A True Story. Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss. 2010. Tyndale. 288 pages.

I ran.
My bare feet pounding the pavement were burning from the sun-baked asphalt. Each contact between flesh and blacktop provoked bursts of pain as if I were stepping on broken glass. The deserted country road, stretching into the horizon, felt as if it were conspiring against me. No matter how hard I pushed myself, the safe place I was desperate to reach eluded me.
Still, I ran.

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is such a compelling read. It's a true crime memoir by Rebecca N. Alonzo. She's the daughter of a small-town pastor. And her story is quite amazing, and in many ways a bit surprising. Each chapter features a black-and-white photo. Just one more reminder to readers that this story--this haunting story--is all too real. Yes, this book goes dark, ugly places. But. It's a story of hope, love, survival, faith, and forgiveness.

The book is told within a framework. The opening chapter places you at the climax. A child running for her life. A child running for help. A child trying her best to be brave for her mom, for her dad, for her younger brother, Daniel, who was just a toddler. A child running after witnessing the unthinkable...

But. The book then goes back to the beginning. With the story of her parents. How they met and married. How they struggled with infertility. How her father came to be a pastor in this small community. How they came to welcome two children into their home. How their family was tortured--tormented--by a few disgruntled individuals within that community. How their family was loved and supported by others. It's a story of faith, of hope, of love.

The author argues that forgiveness is the language of heaven, and that God's forgiveness is mankind's greatest need.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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