Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Book Review: The Book of Timothy

Um, where are my true crime junkies at? If you know me in real life, you know that I am obsessed with true crime documentaries, podcasts, books, etc. so when I saw this one come up I literally squealed out loud because I knew this was going to be wild. I wasn't wrong. 

The Book of Timothy 

 Joan Nockels Wilson

Set in Rome, Chicago, and Anchorage, and spanning thirty years from crime to confrontation, The Book of Timothy: A Sister's Pursuit recounts in lyric movements a sister's journey, partly through trickery, but eventually through truth, to gain a long-absent admission from the priest who abused her brother. While on that journey, Nockels Wilson, a former prosecutor, confronts not only the priest, but her personal quest for vengeance. She further seeks an understanding of how the first Book of Timothy, the work of St. Paul, contributed to the silencing of women in her once loved Catholic Church. This Book of Timothy promises to take the reader on a quest for justice and down a path of unexpected coincidences that ends where it first began: out of a great love for a brother and in the power of first memory. 

I'm not going to lie, I am probably the most impatient person I know, so this one got a little slow for me in parts, but I'm glad that I stuck with it. I'm also not really a religious person, so though this is heavily centered around religion, I was here for the greater story- the love this woman had for her brother, and trying to not only get the truth out of the man who changed her brother's life forever, but also somehow make it right. 

Huge trigger warning though, this book revolves around sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests, so if that triggers you in any way, this is not the book for you. I can see how large portions of this book would be upsetting to anyone who has gone through that, or even somehow connected to it, so just know that's what this book is about. 

Interestingly, this is mainly Joan's story, of being a sibling to someone who was a victim of these awful acts, and how she is really a secondary victim of this. I also really like the connection being made to survivor's guilt, which is something I never really understood until going through it myself, not related to sexual abuse but instead my surviving death experience. I really struggled for a long time with wishing I had just died, and feeling guilty knowing there were so many women who would give anything to be here, but they did. Why me? Those are some really strange feelings to have so in a way I could relate to this author. I also really liked her explaining what it was like to know after the fact that these awful things were happening and they really had no idea. It speaks to the insidious nature of sexual predators and proves that they are really, really good at what they do. It's evil and it speaks to the power they have over their victims. 

Parts of this book were hard for me to read, and others were just fascinating because her perspective was one we don't always hear from. To combine that with faith, and trusting the word of God, and that God always has a plan for you, meanwhile you, or someone you love, is being abused in such an awful way, it makes it hard to understand how this is part of the plan. Nevermind the fact that many of these priests used scripture to justify their actions, it's just wrong on every level, and I can understand how someone may not come out of it OK in the end, no matter the therapy they receive. 

My only issue, which might be just my cognitive impairment showing up here, is the jumping around in the timeline. It skipped forward, and then jumped back quickly, and I had a hard time following along. I just wish the story was more linear because I found myself having to re-read sections just to understand where we were in the story. I'm not sure if others had this issue, so it might really just be me, but I had a hard time with that. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours, author Joan Nockels Wilson, and Boreal Books for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. Definitely a fascinating story on a topic that just keeps popping up and it's so damn sad. 

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