Monday, January 24, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: "Come Sunday Morning" by Terry E. Hill
by Cyrus Webb for Conversations Book Club/ www.conversationsmag.com
After an almost eight year hiatus, author Terry E. Hill returns to the literary scene with what is a complete literary treat: Come Sunday Morning. While his first novel (Inside The Fall) took us into the complicated and sometimes corrupted world of politics, Hill's sophomore offering leads us right into the church and the double life of celebrated Pastor Hezekiah T. Cleaveland. He seems to have it all: a massive and adoring congregation as well as a equally compelling wife and beautiful daughter, but as in so many cases in life, nothing is ever as it appears to be.
Though the back cover explains a great deal of what the book is about, Hill once again gives us a backstory and character development that makes him such a gifted storyteller. You see, not only is Pastor Cleaveland being unfaithful to the vows he made to his wife and the church, he is being just as unfaithful to himself. In his quest to have everything that he wants, he loses himself and becomes a mirror that reflects the hopes and aspirations of others.
Ironically,though, it is during his unfaithfulness that the Pastor is able to finally admit the truth. "I've never loved anyone, or even myself, as much as I love you," he says to his lover. "No one has ever forced me to look beyond myself and my own needs or my own ego...You've made me realize I've never really cared for anyone and didn't think I had the capacity to. My world has always been about me, and what I desired more than life itself. I wanted power and all that came with it---fame, wealth, and respect. Well, I've done it. I have it all, and when I got it, I began to hate myself more than I had ever hated my worst enemy. All I could see staring back at me in the mirror was a hollow, lonely man who had traded his soul just to be recognized when he walked down the street..."
What a remarkable confession, and it is one that no matter what your profession many can relate to. How many of us have given up what we really want just to go after what we feel like will make us look the best to the world. Pastor Cleaveland showcases that not only do we have the potential to destroy ourselves but those that we have involved in our facade of a life---sometimes with irreversible consequences. It is also important to realize that with much of life, what's done in the dark will ultimately come to the light.
Come Sunday Morning is just the kind of book we needed to start off the year, not just because it is an entertaining read, but as any literary work worth its salt, it sparks a much-needed discussion. Kudos to Terry E. Hill for once again showcasing that some things get better with age. This is a book that will be talked about for some time to come.
To find out more about the author, visit www.terryehill.com.