Picking up Abide With Me in the corner of a second hand bookstore I was exploring, I thought it was worth a try. It was set in New England and by an author I had never read, but was known as a good writer.
Starting to read, I was struck by the similarities to Gilead. An ageing pastor dealing with emotional situations. Similar gentle writing. However, I was wrong. This is a very different book. Yes, it looks at the burdens that pastors carry, but the focus here is on the main character as a father and husband.
Abide With Me is an okay book, but not outstanding. I found myself getting frustrated with Tyler, the pastor at the heart of the book. The line between gentle and hiding from responsibility is a narrow one. Through the book you watch Tyler slowly break down under the weight of the grief of his wife’s death and the guilt of the difficulties in their marriage and now his daughter’s struggles. Mixed in are the varied issues of the congregation. Some of those ‘difficulties’ seem very sensationalized and are jarring in the context of the book.
I can’t say I would recommend this book. It was mediocre to read and forgettable afterwards.