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Sins of the FathersReview - Sins of the Fathers
by Chris Lynch
HarperTeen, 2006
Review by Amy Ridley
Feb 13th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 7)

Drew, Skitz and Hector have gone to school together since they were six at Blessed Sacrament. They are always helping each other out of trouble. Drew is the one that keeps everyone in line and he notices Hector pulling away and becoming more agitated with everyone around him. Hector is the one that everyone considers the good boy but he is the one that is getting the most attention from the Fathers because he needs their special help. Skitz is the bad boy. He does everything wrong and the Fathers are the first to point this out. They are constantly threatening to send him to public school since they are doing him a favor by letting him go there.

Skitz has a lot to say about the Fathers interest in Hector. Many snide comments are made by Skitz regarding the current state of the Catholic Church and the fact that it is set in Boston where so many of the recent issues are centered is not lost on the reader. Hector is a staunch believer in all aspects of the Church and this causes a rift between the two boys that Drew feels the need to smooth over. Skitz may be oblivious to most things but he is very conscious of Hector's involvement with the priests. There is a sense of disregard on the part of many, but Skitz is not one of them.

Chris Lynch says plenty about what is going on with Hector without saying a thing. This story is unusual in that it is timeless. There are no pop culture references that date it. The only reference to time is by mentioning the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins. He does a terrific job showing the control the three priests have over the whole school and congregation. It is easier for the reader to see how these situations happen in real life when people completely trust someone who is supposed to be a moral compass.

Drew is a well drawn character who has his own flaws but really keeps the three boys together while they are all being torn apart.

Everything about this book is subtle. Nothing is ever spoken directly about what is going on, and the plot could have gone in a number of directions. The reader is left hanging but that keeps with Lynch minimalism. The reader hopes that Drew is able to protect Hector. The parents of the three boys do not play much of a role in the book. The control that Hector's mother has given one of the priests is frightening. He is completely controlling who has contact with Hector and is a constant presence by his side. This is deeply disturbing to Drew and Skitz. They infer that abuse is occurring but nothing is ever said. Drew's anger with Hector's situation gives the reader more reasons to believe that abuse is occurring.

Lynch's style of narrative allows a lot of assumptions on the reader's part. He never has the boys talk about abuse. He never mentions directly any of the scandals the Church has been through lately. He allows the reader to put all of the pieces together. It would seem that this was intentional since that is the way it was handled by many families who went through this themselves. People may have assumed that something wrong was happening but did not want to believe that someone they trusted could do this to their children.

© 2007 Amy Ridley

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University.

 


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