The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick
People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was … “you know.” But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy.
I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams-even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them.
Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands.
What I don’t know is if I can trust my own eyes. I don’t know who threw the stone. Who swung the hatchet? Who are the shadows? What do the living owe the dead?
The air of mystery around this book - the blood-spattered cover, the lack of description in the blurb - drew me in. And while I found the book interesting, I wasn’t really a fan of it. That air of mystery stayed throughout, but it no longer seemed like part of the story, if you know what I mean. It seemed more like Ben was confused and trying to give his confusion to the reader.
In some parts, the book was homophobic and sexist. Which, okay, I get, it’s rural Wisconsin and that’s part of the story. But for Ben to go to the point of denying Jimmy’s sexuality was just a little too far. And then there was the whole thing with Ben questioning his sexuality because of a picture he hadn’t agreed to have taken.
I didn’t like that Ben was so scared of being found guilty - of something he didn’t do - and his solution to that was to act guilty and withhold evidence, and then to go a little insane.
I didn’t hate this book. Bick is extremely good at writing suspenseful scenes, and her descriptive language was awesome. But her book didn’t really end, there was no resolution, no tying of loose ends. Most of what it did was just confuse me.
Once Upon a Time...
As a longtime lover of stories and a believer in the power and magic of books, I've spent my life seeking out the best reads. This blog is dedicated to reviewing the books I read - good, bad, or magnificent - to help other readers find their next favorite books.