I purchased Book #4, "Holy Autism" by Daniel Forant, specifically for a book club I am part of. The group votes monthly for a reading selection. The books are put up for voting by their authors. The book with the most votes has a discussion, led by the author. The books are by first-time authors only. This being said, you can't expect to have great literature, but you would expect a good solid try by an author who is confident enough in his or her work to put it out there for us to critique.
The premise of the book is about a woman, Anna, whose autistic daughter Hellen, has been kidnapped because of some kind of secret only she understands regarding Christ and the Church.
What's the secret? I still don't know. The book was impossible to follow. Characters weren't developed, dialogue was confusing and I never knew who was speaking.
The reader is never told who kidnapped Hellen or what her experiences were while she was held captive. Anna is accompanied by a man, Adam, but their relationship is never described and we are not given any background information on either one of them. I never knew why they were in the places they were or how they got there. I never understood how they were connected to the other characters in the book or how they met them.
All in all, the book was horrible. Why did I read it, you might be wondering? Because I felt a responsibility to the group and to the author. I had not voted for it, but it was that month's selection and it was the first book selected since I had joined the group. I wanted to jump right in. Interestingly enough, the day before the scheduled discussion, the author himself pulled out of the discussion, then left the group. The group was left confused by his message and had no one to lead, so the discussion never took place. Officially that is. A few of us had some things to say and created our own discussion.
It was the common assumption that the author knew his work was completely worthless and didn't want to face the criticism. Whether that is the case or not, I for one felt jerked around. I bought his book, struggled through it and tried my best to find something constructive to say in support of him. Then he left the group in a lurch.
In no way do I hold the group responsible. The woman who moderates the group was very shocked by the author's actions and sent a very personal and thoughtful message to the group members. I will try to join them once again for a discussion in the future. However, at this point, I need to read something light and fun. My last two books have been miserable!