Sunday, February 13, 2005

Happy Day Before Valentines' Day. Apparently Heart's Day is more highly celebrated here than Christmas. Lots of stands cropped up around the island selling big stuffed bears holding hearts and lots of other Valentine type gift "stuff". We went wandering yesterday, looking at areas on the island we might like to move to - love the Hull Bay area. There is a very popular little beach there and beyond that a cool enclave of homes. We stopped to use the "facilities" at the little beach bar there and had to chuckle over the barber shop in the parking lot - it was in an old ice cream type truck. There was the barber, cutting some guy's hair, with the back door door and other guys hanging around watching. I was very glad Steve didn't insist on getting his hair cut there.

I am sitting here with a copy of Jennifer Richard Jacobson's Stained in front of me. I am not Catholic, but where I grew up you were either Lutheran or Catholic, with a few Baptists and others around as well. I remember the teasing from the Catholic kids when they would ask what's your father's name and I would answer Paul and they would say, "No stupid, that's your dad's name, what's your priest's name?" You either fit in or you didn't, and Jocelyn no longer fit in after her mother quit going to church with their neighbors and Joss didn't go through her First Communion. She never forgot the nun's comment that until you went through First Communion your soul was stained. Joss hung around at the fringes of the crowd. She and Gabe had played together as kids and here she was in high school and still let him treat her like dirt even though she was involved with Benny, another Catholic boy worried about the fate of his soul because he lusted after Joss. When Gabe disappears Joss wonders why Father Warren is always hanging around the search groups and why the teens hang on his every word. She doesn't like him at all because she knows he is telling Benny to stay away from her - he says she lures him into their sinful trysts. Father Warren feeds on the boys' insecurities and is the reason Gabe has disappeared.

Stained is not graphic in relation to the sexual abuse, but it is clear what is going on with Father Warren and Gabe and why Gabe waits to talk to Joss before he disappears from their lives. Very poignant tale of how small town lives intertwine and how one powerful authority figure can ruin the lives of so many. Stained is a Richard Jackson Book from Atheneum and will be out some time this month.

All for now.