3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Author SJ Epps focuses on controversial current events in the novel Hibernation. Winter Sams is a well-regarded pastor presiding over a large, conservative congregation in a world where LGBT citizens experience more civil rights than ever before. However, Winter Sams has a secret that has the potential to smear his reputation and destroy his relationships with his congregants. Looming in the background of Winter’s story is a court room drama connected to another pastor. Simon is accused of a hate crime for refusing to perform a marriage ceremony for a same sex couple despite a contractual agreement to do so.
The blurb for Hibernation makes the book seem more action packed than it really is. The narrative focuses on the inner workings of the minds of Winter and Simon. Winter has built his entire life around a lie and is now feeling the consequences both internally and externally as his emotional unraveling effects those close to him. Similarly, Simon is facing the possibility of prison life which would mean leaving behind his ailing wife and possibly the loss of his career. Although the characters were interesting and their plights made for a captivating story, the main message about LGBT rights seemed to fall by the wayside. At the conclusion, there was no feeling that the author had made a stance for or against the matter. In fact, the overall theme that “the world has flipped upside down (quoted from the book blurb)” seemed to be nonexistent. Other than the mention of some new legislation allowing for the expanded rights of the LGBT community and the mention of some overzealous rioters, this theme had no bearing on the overall plot. The main characters could be experiencing the same situations in our current society.
The characterization was the most enjoyable part of Hibernation. The author did a good job showing the inner conflict of the main characters. The narrative is told in the third person, often switching the point of view between Winter and Simon. There were well thought out secondary characters as well. For example, Winter’s wife, Tab, is a complex character also struggling with inner demons.
Other than the lack of a clear message, as promised by the book blurb, the court room drama was the least interesting aspect of the book. Though the verdict is supposed to be the climactic event of the story, it felt predictable and elementary.
Being only two hundred pages, Hibernation makes for a quick, easy read. The author’s writing style and character development was enjoyable, making me lean toward a higher rating. However, the disappointing lack of a true message in the novel caused me to give this novel a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The story is well written and the characters are three dimensional, all making this book still worthwhile. I recommend Hibernation to those interested in the subject of LGBT rights and stories of the same nature.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like MarisaRose's review? Post a comment saying so!