Title: Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes
Author: Evan J. Corbin
Genre: LGBTQ Fiction; Speculative Fiction; LGBTQ Humor
The oldest translation of a Gospel is returned to the world by a secret society long dedicated to its preservation. In it, Jesus explicitly condemns bigotry and homophobia. In a new world in which LGBTQ passengers receive preferential boarding for flights and the United States has elected its first lesbian President, Pastor Rick Harris is a stalwart, closeted preacher who doggedly holds onto his increasingly unpopular convictions. When an incendiary sermon goes too far and offends an influential family, Rick makes a painful choice to keep his job: He attends an atonement camp run by drag queens for society’s most unrepentant and terminally incurable homophobes. Atonement Camp is immersion therapy for Pastor Harris, and it might be working. An open bar with pedicures, a devastatingly attractive roommate and an endless supply of glitter help him manage to make new friends. Soon, Rick and his cohorts learn the camp may hold its own secrets. Amid the smiling faces and scantily clad pool boys who staff the camp, a clandestine group plots to discredit the New Revelation and everything it stands for. If Rick has the conviction to confront his own hypocrisy, he might be able to uncover the conspirators with help from his adopted flock—and find new truths within himself. CONTENT WARNING: This novel addresses issues related to the infliction of emotional abuse by a homophobic parent who suspects his son to be a homosexual. Separately, while not the author's intent, some readers may interpret the story's attempt to confront issues of religious hypocrisy as an assault on religion itself. No such conclusion is intended. Lastly, the novel follows a protagonist who, at times, uses hateful slurs to refer to members of the LGBTQ community. Such language is intended to give authenticity to a self-hating, closed member of that same community. Readers may appreciate the protagonist's growth as he embraces his sexuality and reconciles himself with his faith.
Going into this book I expected a Pythonesque approach ala John Cleese in a wig and dress strutting about. This isn't what this book is about. In the basic sense, this book is about acceptance of others and understanding that love is love. The core message of this book is needed today in America in a big way. It is not wrong to think that prejudice and discrimination are back and worse than ever today, oft inspired by the one who is supposed to be the leader of all.
This book takes an approach that, in some small way, is like the opposite of the cult classic, But...I'm A Cheerleader. This could be, But I’m a Minister. This potential whimsical approach to a touchy subject takes a serious turn. I found myself knee-deep in what is best described as a brilliantly written Dan Brown mystery. The reader is kept on the edge of their seat with the mystery and intrigue and left guessing all along the way. Not what I expected. This book is highly recommended to fans of the Da Vinci Code. A well-written timely book that will entertain.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little. His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights. His friends say the book is great! Hopefully, you will as well.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N