A reader writes:
We read your book for book-club and I found it boring and reprehensible by turns. Between your endless descriptions and your philosophizing, I caught myself wondering, who would write such things? Who would publish such things? And there should really be a warning of what is to come. The book, which SEEMS at first to be grounded in Christianity, left several of us shocked and offended.
Dear Sheri K:
While I regret that my book was distasteful to you, I obviously can make no apologies for it.
This is by design a philosophical novel the point of which was to show that morality does exist if there is no God. The philosophy, therefore, was inescapable. A formal statement of the book’s theme appears in Chapter 33, when Joel says “Philosophy matters.”
“I was under the influence of an incorrect philosophy,” Joel said. “It was an amoral, relativistic philosophy that resulted in nihilism, as such philosophies inevitably do. Moorecroft, if there’s only one thing I want get across, it’s this: philosophy matters. It matters the most. I’ve lived it, and I know what I’m talking about.”
“Tell me exactly what you mean,” Elias said.
“I mean that the ideas a person holds determine precisely, mathematically, the actions that that person will take—and how that person will view those actions and feel about them afterward. Convictions determine actions. Philosophy is the source from which every subsequent thing flows. Whether the idea is scientific, political, aesthetic, technological, or anything else, philosophy is the source. Thoughts shape deeds. Those thoughts spring from the ideas one forms about existence and the universe around us. And that is philosophy.”
To show the good, I felt I had to present the bad as a contrast.
My point, however, was not to glorify a crime, but just the opposite: to condemn it.
On another level, this book is about childhood — specifically, how one’s childhood experiences last through a lifetime, and how, in certain children, when experience comes too early it can force that little soul to weigh God. As I said in the book:
“Childhood is a private garden, Joel, sometimes a terrible one. Every person’s childhood is unique. The adult carries childhood with him through life, until the day of death.”