Passing on Faith by A. M. Leibowitz
Passing on Faith is my first, but definitely not last, A. M. Leibowitz book. There is nothing light and fluffy about this book and at times it is very difficult to read. A. M. takes the reader into a world full of anger, hate, family secrets and lies. It is a very dark place to visit, particularly in the first quarter of the book. Persisting beyond the darkness is well worth the trip, however, and this beautifully written book is something to be savoured.
Micah is a young man who has been driven out of his family and the church they control by his domineering pastor/father. Having two older brothers follow their father into the 'family business' Micah is left isolated and completely estranged from his family when he chooses teaching as a career. His father insists that the fact that Micah is gay should not stop him entering the ministry. He should just keep that side of his life hidden. Micah sees only hypocrisy and lies in his father and brothers and turning away from the stringent confines of the church is his only means of survival. Living his young life in such a toxic atmosphere has left Micah completely estranged from God and any church, leaving him with severe anxiety and mental health issues.
On the death of his father Micah inherits the run down family lake house, his fathers last attempt to thumb his nose at his youngest son. Micah has only bad memories of the house and returns during the summer school break to repair and sell it at these least cost to his financial and mental well being. Enter Cat, the irrepressible, loud and proud, gay electrician next door. Cat sashays into Micah's life turning his world and everything he believes about himself upside down. But Cat has issues of his own. Over time it becomes clear Cat is unwell and, like Micah, keeping secrets of his own.
The story of how these two damaged young men gradually open up to each other, learn to trust again, and find peace in their lives, is beautifully told. Passing on Faith is not a story for the faint hearted. The journey the MC's take, however, and their final destination, make for a sometimes heartbreaking, but ultimately wonderfully satisfying read.