Hex signs protect every barn and outbuilding. The local tannery spews its poison on land and in the river. And babies disappear at birth. An orphan and one-time felon who earned his nickname from the sound a crowbar makes when it hits a man’s head, Wump Hozer is now the custodian of Our Lady of the Innocents parish in Three Bridges, PA. Wump is old and tired. He’s fought all his life against the tannery’s waste, against God, and against the blind eyes of his good neighbors. Nowadays he tries to ignore the old monsignor’s exploits with the young women of the parish and the strangeness surrounding the local orphanage, and does what good he can for his wife, the church, the nuns who run the orphanage, and the poor orphans themselves. Childhood memories and strange presentments begin to plague him when a brick wall unearthed at the site of a new restaurant collapses, and raw sewage carries hundreds of bones into the pit left behind. It looks like the Devil’s made Three Bridges his new playground. A blasphemous bible will tell Wump why.
This book was a really surprising read, and if you ask me to tell you why I found it so surprising I’m not sure I could put it completely into words. But what I can say is the following, it’s well written, makes you think, and is written in a manner that is very realistic.
I think one of the harder things to do as an author is to be able to get a reader to engage with a character, and of course you have to do this with however the author chooses which POV to use. This first person is well written, and very well thought out, there is never a moment where Wump does anything that I would consider to be out of character or confusing. It was very easy for Wump to pull me into his life and into his story and for me to want to find out more (although I will mention it took most of the first chapter to actually grab my attention which makes me wish the first chapter had found a way to be more captivating).
The book itself is a really interesting look at life in general, even though it is done through the eyes of one person, and it is a book that you will think about even when you are finished reading it. I was to especially mention the use of flashbacks in this book. Often times with characters you can feel like you don’t know enough about their past, and therefore don’t fully understand the way they think or the way they are. The use of flashbacks in this book really helps the reader to understand the character, and not only that they are well written. It’s not confusing to tell the difference between a flashback and present time for the book. Also in a way I think they also help to make the reader want to know more about what is going to happen next as well as have a desire for more information about the character.
I think I have to say that one of my favorite things about Wump is he is a deeply flawed person. He has a past, and one that most would not approve of. But that being said he really is the good guy in this story. I find it highly annoying and unrealistic when the main character is this perfect being who can do no wrong, it makes the character not only not believable but I also have a hard time cheering for characters like that. With Wump you find out about his past and then you know the kind of person he is in the present day, and those two things combined make you really want to pull for him, you want things to go the right way. And I think for me I had a feeling of pride for him, because he was able to turn himself into a person that people would be proud to know.
I really enjoyed this book, and it really made me think. It made me think about religion and the kindness of people. It also made me take a look at myself as well. I am a Catholic so I think it may have been easier for me to follow along with some of the more religious bits in the books, so beware some people who aren’t familiar with Catholicism might not know everything, but I don’t think it would be hard to figure out. I would not recommend this book to people who are easily offended when it comes to the subject of religion, but other than that I can say I would recommend this book to most people I know, because I think they would enjoy the journey the book takes you on.