Saturday, January 17, 2015

In This Mountain

In This Mountain (Mitford Years, #7)In This Mountain by Jan Karon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm marking this down one star, for two items, which I will get to in a moment. First of all, let me say that I really love the Mitford series, as a whole. It is comfort reading of the best kind: likable characters, problems that are usually solved satisfactorily, and an overall feeling of goodwill, which pervades the whole series. I love the relationship between Cynthia and Father Tim, and I really enjoy how faith is simply a part of these people's lives. These are characters you will enjoy spending time with.

This book is perhaps one of the darker of the series, however (dark being a relative term, of course), with Father Tim falling into depression because of a tragic occurrence. Karon does a good job depicting what life is like for someone suffering from depression (I speak from experience), but there is one thing she did that is part of why I knocked off a star: she had Father Tim stop taking his anti-depressants because he wanted to tackle it himself. This is VERY risky behavior, for someone suffering from depression! She did, at least, have him inform his doctor of his intentions, and the doctor made him promise to check back in. But still, most people can't just "shake" depression on their own, and to depict this beloved character as being able to do so sends a very dangerous message. Believe me, I prayed and tried to "get over it" myself, but without the medication I don't think I could have beaten my depression. The other thing that bothered me about Fr. Tim's depression was that the doctor didn't also prescribe counseling or therapy of some sort. Anti-depressants alone are not the answer. People need coping skills and other help to crawl out of that black hole. This is another risky portrayal. But, as I said, she did do a good job of depicting how it feels to be depressed. Fortunately, of course, he does manage to come out of it. This is Mitford, after all! ;-)

The other thing that irked me about this book was the implication that the disaster that befalls the 'bad guy' in the series (who is a woman) was God's judgment on this woman for her mocking and denying Him. This is unconscionable! God does not 'smite' those who don't believe, He loves them! The parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep are prime examples of how God feels about those who do not know Him or turn away from Him.

But, those two issues aside, this is still a great series, and I would certainly recommend them to anyone who is looking for a nice, cozy read!

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