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Thoughts upon finishing Glorybound by Jessie Van Eerden

  • Though the beginning was hard to get into because of its dense content and sad tone, I couldn’t put it down for the last 100 pages. It picked up speed toward the end as everything came together and everyone got healed. There were shorter sections and quicker shifts between perspectives.
  • Perspectives: younger sister Aimee, older sister Crystal, friend Aubrey, father Cord (through essays for Aubrey’s class), and mother Dotte
  • Ronnie, Crystal’s beloved, is the tipping point of the novel. His snake bite leads to all of the healing for the characters individually and with each other.
    • The book started with many threads and brought them all together at Ronnie’s snake bite.
  • The spiritual aspects of the novel are talked about and yearned for (such as footwashings, all night prayer vigils, and Aimee’s unfulfilled yearning to speak in tongues.) The healing at the end is felt in the reader. A reader does not have to be Pentecostal to believe God worked and a miracle happened, though this is never overtly stated in the book.
  • The novel’s action stops right at the moment of healing for all of the individual characters. Readers know what will happen next and how things will be resolved, but it is not given or shown in the novel. This gives the reader greater authority in the reading.
  • Dialect is used, but only for the most dominant words (ex. “again” in place of “against”). More dominant is West Virginia syntax and metaphors (ex. “close to the bone.”)
  • Main question of the novel:
    • What do people do, Crystal thought, when they go untouched, when they ain’t ok with being touched?” (Van Eerden, 188).
    • Crystal gives answers for the other main characters of the novel, whom Crystal was just contemplating. She finishes with herself and summarizes the answer for everyone: “They quit their singing. They go without a healing” (Van Eerden, 188).

In the end, I really enjoyed the book! Van Eerden’s masterful weaving of plot strands made up for all of my frustrations with the heavy, dark tone at the beginning. She did an excellent job of creating strong feelings in the reader, both bitter and hopeful.


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