Book Review (Sort of): Atheists Who Kneel and Pray by Tarryn Fisher



Dear Tarryn,

I used to make the annual Goodreads challenges. These days, I’d be lucky if I read ten books in one year. You can say that my schedule hardly allows me time to sit down and enjoy a good book. But the truth is, I’ve really lost interest. At the risk of dissing myself as an author, everything has just gotten so predictable these days. And nothing has moved me for a very long time. Maybe it’s because I’ve had my share of self drama and I’m really just in a good place as I write this. Or maybe it’s simply because I’ve learned that venturing back into the real world is much better than living in the book world.

“Okay, I can send it to you.” You text me late one night while I’m sound asleep.

I wait for it that day. And nothing. Check my email twice in the afternoon.


 “Hey,” I text back. “What are you sending and when are you sending it?”



My email buzzes with new mail.  Lori and Serena came over that weekend. And so I had to wait for them to leave. I finished it in one sitting. And although you probably don’t need it (because you are about to get a million other fan girling, crying, gushing reviews) I’d like to give you my thoughts on this book. I’ve already been texting you for days, but since everyone else will get to say something about it, I’m going to do the same, my dearest friend.

Simple story, common premise. Girl meets boy, they fall in love and want to live happily ever after. Girl has issues, boy has issues. They struggle to overcome them and we find out if they win in the end.

Of course, you would never leave it at that.

YOU’RE TARRYN FISHER, remember? So you begin to deceive us by allowing the complexity to seep in. As the story unfolds, you deftly expose a vulnerability in both main characters that is painful to watch, even as they’re falling in love. There is a numbing sadness you can’t quite put a finger on, that lingers throughout the book. It’s quiet and subtle, like a storm brewing miles away from you and all you hear are the rumblings from afar. David, the dreamer, pursues the woman he wants. But Yara the realist, lives her life waiting for the other shoe to drop. She’s convinced that sorrow is inevitable. And when it doesn’t come soon enough, she impales herself upon it. You weave words that hook themselves into our souls. They are crisp, they are sharp, they are eloquent. Your characters remain real, as in all your other stories.

What’s most noticeable in this seventh book is the maturity that shines through in the characters’ voices and in their choices. Gone is the revenge-seeking heroine, angry at the world, desperate to prove that the it can fuck itself and go to hell. Yara and David acknowledge their flaws; they are relentless and resilient in the face of love. There is no larger than life persona. There is humility and perseverance  for love’s sake. As I told you the other day – “The Opportunist was written by a girl ten years ago. This book was definitely written by a woman.”

So. Tarryn

While you say that I’m Picky As Fuck Fuck, I want you to know how much I really loved this book.

And although I’m not YARA

And you didn’t write a book about me

And you claim you didn’t know that I am addicted to CHEETOS (PUFFS, though)

The places you wrote about were some of the places we’d visited on our trips together. Reading about them went straight through my gut and pulled out every single memory I’d been trying to forget for the past year. I dove back into the world I thought I’d left behind. This book made me realize that I’ve shied away from good things and good people because I’ve been shielding myself from getting hurt.

That I’m a runner.

That I should have taken the time to explain to those I loved why I left. That I only had one in my life and he’s not who you think.

This book also brought back many happy memories. It made me proud of the choices I made and the love that I gave away for the sake of others.

It also reminded me of all the times you and I laughed, ate, peeled chestnuts and drank the best drinks in the whole world.

And now, we both have Celine in our lives.

If you’ve ever doubted your talent, your ability, your place in the book world as one of the best – just remember –

This humble little PAFF thinks this is the best one yet.

Congratulations, my friend.