Saturday, November 6, 2010

Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin Jr

Walter Wangerin Jr creates a fictionalized retelling of the Book of Ruth in his novel, Naomi and her Daughters (2010). Having no daughters, Naomi raises an abused girl name Milcah. Sadly, Milcah is murdered on her wedding night. Naomi suffers more loss when her husband and two sons are killed during the war. Naomi’s only surviving family consists of her daughter-in-law, Ruth. The novel explores Ruth’s deep love for her mother-in-law.

Each chapter of Wangerin’s novel alternates between the past and present. Since the novel covers a vast period of time (over thirty years), this structure helps to move the novel along. The reader is thrust immediately into an action filled plot. Background information is given as the novel switches to the past. While this makes the plot more entertaining, it also makes the novel somewhat difficult to follow.

The book is very well-written. The battle scenes are vividly described. Wangerin gives a chilling description of what actually takes place on the battlefield and its aftermath. I felt as if I was with Naomi as she walked through the fields treating the injured and burying the dead. Wangerin use of violence is well-employed and justified.

Since Naomi and her Daughters is a fictionalized retelling of the Old Testament story, it does not follow exactly the same as the original. Some of the characters and details are altered. Still, Wangerin’s work does not stray too far from the Biblical text. Overall, I would recommend this book to others. The language and plot are beautifully constructed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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