The Preacher's Son

The Preacher's Son

Jason Banning is a wreck. His leg’s been blown to hell in Afghanistan, his boyfriend just left him and took the dog, and now he’s back in his hometown of Pinehurst, Washington, a place that holds nothing but wretched memories…and Nathan Tull. Nathan Tull, whose life Jason ruined. Nathan Tull, who will never believe Jason did what he did for a greater good. Nathan Tull, who...

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Title:The Preacher's Son
Author:Lisa Henry
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Preacher's Son Reviews

  • Debra

    The blurb does a good job of laying out what this story is and yes, religion plays a large part in the story. This book won’t be for everyone based upon that (and I should also warn that there are references to and on page scenes of suicide attempts) but those who enjoy getting into the heads of characters and being fully engaged in the struggle within them that will lead to the ultimate payoff will be pleased.

    What Jason did to Nate, how he used him, was horrible. Being in Jason’s head during th

    The blurb does a good job of laying out what this story is and yes, religion plays a large part in the story. This book won’t be for everyone based upon that (and I should also warn that there are references to and on page scenes of suicide attempts) but those who enjoy getting into the heads of characters and being fully engaged in the struggle within them that will lead to the ultimate payoff will be pleased.

    What Jason did to Nate, how he used him, was horrible. Being in Jason’s head during the act, we know he is aware that what he is doing was wrong on so many levels and feels guilty while he’s doing it. Jason is just one of the people in the story who misguidedly believes they are doing something right. Something good that will help people. Meanwhile, 18 year old Nate, a virgin who is spending the weekend looking at a college, on his own for the first time, thinks he has found a friend, a lover and a person who understands. Even though the reader doesn’t hear about the fallout until years afterwards, it is no less gut-wrenching.

    Picking up four years later, the story is focused on the characters trying to make things right as much as possible for themselves and those they have hurt. Nate has it especially hard, trying to reconcile his homosexuality, his faith and his place in his family. Working at his father’s conversion camp while knowing he is lying to the teenage children who heard his story and may believe it on some level. Struggling to change, but not sure which way is best and who he will hurt more with every decision.

    Jason is struggling too. A pariah in the town he hated as a teenager and hates now that he is forced back he wants to make amends to Nate, but doesn’t expect Nate to forgive. The two start to see each other and a relationship develops. Jason wants Nate to help change him. Nate needs to learn to think and live for himself and not for his father or anyone else. Even since the incident, Nate has always felt something for Jason even though he question having feelings for his abuser.

    All the relationships in this story are complex – Nate and his family especially. Nate’s mom understands him more than he knows, but their relationship has also been fractured, not as much by the scandal but by the differing beliefs they all hold. The family is functioning in dysfunction and once Nate starts accepting himself and seeing his father’s flaws, he begins to see his mother in a new light as well. Nate loves his father, but is afraid that his father’s love for him will only go so far when he learns the truth.

    What works very well here is the characters have good intentions, but they have flaws and they sometimes do things that are wrong. They are living in the gray areas that all people do and struggling with how to deal with it. Questioning motives, feelings and long-held beliefs, questioning their worth to the people around them and society in general and trying to find the balance of what they owe themselves and what they owe others. Jason struggles with what he did to Nathan while still wanting to see Moving Forward burn to the ground. He struggles with whether he is deserving of Nate’s forgiveness even when all he wants is to love Nate and make him happy. Nate struggles with his hypocrisy, his lies and how he can help the kids at the camp when he is really struggling with what is going on there. His belief that what his father is doing can help the kids is repeatedly and tragically tested with the new group of campers that arrive at the same time Jason does.

    Yes, there is a romance storyline but the meat of the story is more each character’s journey of self-discovery and forgiveness – of others and themselves - and of learning how to live their truth and reconciling that with their faith, family and long held beliefs.

    I found myself interested and invested in all the characters. There were a few times where the characters’ thoughts felt a bit repetitive, but overall I could understand the struggle each was going through and empathize with them. I’ve always enjoyed the writing team of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock and while this story was different than I’ve read from them in the past, I enjoyed the departure.

  • Chris, the Dalek King

    Wow…do I have thoughts about this book. Many many thoughts. Unfortunately I am also in the middle of fighting off the plague and so those thoughts are not quite as coherent as I would hope they would be for this review. Nonetheless, I shall go on.

    So firstly…Jason Bannon is a self-righteous douchebag. Why? Well the fact that he knowingly and purposefully taped–without consent–Nathan Tull having sex with him, doesn’t help. Nor does the fact that he did so because Nathan’s father is pastor who runs

    Wow…do I have thoughts about this book. Many many thoughts. Unfortunately I am also in the middle of fighting off the plague and so those thoughts are not quite as coherent as I would hope they would be for this review. Nonetheless, I shall go on.

    So firstly…Jason Bannon is a self-righteous douchebag. Why? Well the fact that he knowingly and purposefully taped–without consent–Nathan Tull having sex with him, doesn’t help. Nor does the fact that he did so because Nathan’s father is pastor who runs a “pray-the-gay-away” camp. Worse yet, that even after having sex with Nathan, taping Nathan, and then hearing Nathan thank him for giving him courage to tell his father that he is gay…Jason,

    , Bannon then puts the video online along with an article outing Nathan and shaming his father. And then–and of course there is an “and then”–he has the balls to defend his actions as somehow “helping” Nathan and others like him.

    There’s no way to get around it. Jason Bannon, you are the winner of Biggest Fucking Douchebag of the Year. Everyone else…you didn’t even bother writing a speech, did ya?

    Which is going to make this sound a bit odd: I really like Jason. Like an insane amount.

    He is the human embodiment of

    . As in, he is one hell of a fucking mess. He is so sure about what is “right” that he is willing to steamroll over anyone. He is pushy and brash and still one-fifth that hurt kid who showed up to live with his aunt after his parents were killed and sat in a church that told him that all that love and acceptance his parents shared with him was wrong.

    So yeah, I really love him. Because in just about any other LGBT book Jason would be the “Christian.” He’s got just about all the classical character traits. It is just instead of his righteous indignation coming from religion, it comes from his own moral code. And it is so easy for me to hate “Christians” who act like this, to vilify them and spray my disgust all over the internet, but when it is a character who hold a lot of the same views and opinions as you acting like a douche? That’s tricky. Makes you squirm and twist. Makes you feel and think and evalutate some of your own less pleasing thoughts.

    In fact what I really like about this story is how it kinda flipped the script on several characters and tropes. Especially when it comes to how the Christians in this book are portrayed.

    Timothy Tull, Nathan’s father, is not a horrible man. A misguided man–a man whose good intention are wildly off the mark–yes. But he is not evil. Like the book says,

    Nathan’s father genuinely believes in what he is doing. And not in a mean and spiteful way either. He is all about God’s love and God’s forgiveness. It’s just such a fucking tragedy that his version of love is so damn narrow. And while I abhor conversion “therapy,” this book lets me sympathize with this man, especially when it come to having him confront Jason, this fucktard who hurt his son so badly. That Timothy thinks part of the hurt comes from the fact that Nathan thought it ok to be gay, I dislike, but there is no denying that the guy loves his son.

    And having grown up with, and come out to, a deeply religious family, I get that. And I also get the way that it can fuck you up. Because while it is easy to point to those horrible people who kick their LGBT kids out of the house when they come out and say “these people are monsters,” it is somewhat harder to confront the idea that this person who says they will love you no matter what despite your “sins”…also sees something dark and horrible and disgusting in you. In a part of you that can’t be cut out or separated without irreparable harm. The “hate the sin, love the sinner” way of thinking can cause just as much damage, even if in different ways, than those who come out and get treated to hellfire and brimstone.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Timothy loves his son. But there is also no doubt in my mind that his brand of “love” is also damaging to Nathan. And to the other kids at the camp.

    is not the most comfortable book to read, but it is still a very good one to read. It takes several very uncomfortable topics and makes you see every angle and question both sides. Not because it wants to make a case for conversion therapy being ok, but because I think it wants you to see just how harmful it can be. Even when done with love. Even when done with kindness and the best intentions. It is wrong, because when drowning someone with love or hate, the end result is still the same.

    And while this book isn’t perfect–I think the switch from Nathan going “Nope, not any cock wanted here!” to “Cock? Yes, please!” was a bit abrupt–it still was one hell of a story. And it got to me on so many levels that I’d love to talk about…but then we would be here for an hour and…no. I need to go to bed now. So, should you read this? I’d say yeah. Unless the whole conversion therapy thing is gonna trigger you. Then…yeah, might wanna give this a pass since that is a huge aspect of the story. I myself thought it was incredibly well written, and the exploration of both Nathan and Jason’s characters was excellent. Not the easiest of reads, but well worth the effort.

    4.5 stars

  • Wendy

    The blurb really peaked my interest. I am not a big fan of religious reads to be honest, but that was not what caught my attention. When I read what Jason actually did to Nate....I really wanted to know how that would turn out...

    I am a very big fan of groveling, and I was hoping to get some here....because man did Jason ruin Nate's life !!

    Jason and Nate meet when they are younger. Both are gay, but Nate is deeply in the closet, and one of the reasons for that, is his family. Nate's dad runs a co

    The blurb really peaked my interest. I am not a big fan of religious reads to be honest, but that was not what caught my attention. When I read what Jason actually did to Nate....I really wanted to know how that would turn out...

    I am a very big fan of groveling, and I was hoping to get some here....because man did Jason ruin Nate's life !!

    Jason and Nate meet when they are younger. Both are gay, but Nate is deeply in the closet, and one of the reasons for that, is his family. Nate's dad runs a conversion camp, which is supposed to turn the gay into straight

    Jason knows all about Nate's dad and the conversion camp, and he thinks he might be able to shut this camp down, and help all the gay people affected by this camp...including Nate.

    Problem is.....he thinks the best way to shut this camp down is by exposing Nate publically. Which he does....in a very cruel, and in my opinion unforgiveable, way. He tapes the two of them having sex, it's Nate's first time by the way, and putting it online...

    Fast forward some years and Jason is on his way back to his hometown after being injured in Afghanistan. Jason get's to witness just how much his video still hurts Nate years later. How does one make up for something like this..... How does he make things right again....

    Apparently Nate is the better man, cause I would have never forgiven Jason for his evil stupidity !! I hold a mean grudge and even though I know Jason was sorry in the end.... it wasn't enough for me. I wanted him to pay for what he did....and in my opinion, he didn't pay enough (and no.. his injuries had nothing to do with all of this).

    This is a story about forgiveness.....and I guess I am not really as forgiving as I thought :P

    Now don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading this one, it just also frustrated me. It hard to root for a couple, when one of them is making your blood boil :P

     

  • River

    3.5 stars

    I find that making a review for this book is a bit hard, I find a lot of things about the book very interesting but at the same time it's very hard to get past Jason's actions. In the end, I'm left wondering what were the authors thinking, not in a bad way, just curious.

    If you read the blurb then you know what happened between Nathan and Jason. As a person I hate Jason's actions, there's no way around it, it was awful and I would say even unforgivable. As a reader, it was fascinating t

    3.5 stars

    I find that making a review for this book is a bit hard, I find a lot of things about the book very interesting but at the same time it's very hard to get past Jason's actions. In the end, I'm left wondering what were the authors thinking, not in a bad way, just curious.

    If you read the blurb then you know what happened between Nathan and Jason. As a person I hate Jason's actions, there's no way around it, it was awful and I would say even unforgivable. As a reader, it was fascinating to see the way Nate handled the situation.

    Sometimes i found myself agreeing with Jason's thoughts because I am not a believer and I felt like his reactions were so real, like yeah i would totally roll me eyes if someone try to pushed those believes on me.

    I did liked the way the story didn't made Nate's dad to be a hateful bigot but at the same time I felt like it was too nice, look I know not all christians are bad people but it's so hard to simpatize with someone that tries to change kids identities so bad that they emotionally and mentally torture and abuse them, because telling a kid that what they are is wrong is complete abuse and torture, you can't change my mind on that.

    I do think the religion - homosexuality theme is very interesting and it was handled very nicely but it was just not enough, not because the authors didn't tried but because it's such a big thing that you can't cover it in one book.

    I'm gonna leave things here because I feel like my thoughts are a mess.

    This is a complicated story and I don't think it's for everyone but I did like reading it.

  • Lisa Henry

    I don’t respond to readers’ reviews, even those addressed to me, because I believe those reviews are a reader’s space. However if you have anything to ask about The Preacher’s Son, then I’m happy for you to do that here in my review space.

    There does seem to be some misconception about how Nate’s father is portrayed in the book. Yes, he thinks he’s doing the right thing by Nate and the kids at the camp. And no, he absolutely isn’t. Conversion therapy is reprehensible and harmful, and should be b

    I don’t respond to readers’ reviews, even those addressed to me, because I believe those reviews are a reader’s space. However if you have anything to ask about The Preacher’s Son, then I’m happy for you to do that here in my review space.

    There does seem to be some misconception about how Nate’s father is portrayed in the book. Yes, he thinks he’s doing the right thing by Nate and the kids at the camp. And no, he absolutely isn’t. Conversion therapy is reprehensible and harmful, and should be banned, and I don’t think there is any content in the book that would give any reader the impression otherwise.

    Likewise, what Jason does to Nate in outing him is cruel and short-sighted, and this is something that all the characters struggle to address throughout the story--and will continue to struggle to address beyond that. This isn’t a story where romance is a fix-it for trauma.

    As my co-writer JA says, “Lisa and I were fully aware that some readers would have concerns about those issues, and that the book could be polarizing. We did everything we could within the book to make the characters' struggles as realistic as possible, and to make sure it was not a romanticization or endorsement of bullying, but an honest look at how people struggle with the mistakes they make and the damage they do to one another. It's not a story that asks the reader, or even the other characters in the book to forgive Jason for what he does to Nate. It's a story about two individuals striving to make peace with themselves and each other. As a queer person, I try always to write from a truthful place, without fetishizing my pain or anyone else's. We understand readers' concerns and hope they'll give the book a chance. We also understand it's potentially divisive, and not for everyone.”

  • Elena

    As much as it pains me to pass on a new book by this duo, I know myself too well to think I'd enjoy a story centered on religion and a character's faith.

  • F.E. Jr.

    Hi, I'm an ex fundi- there's NOTHING good about conversion camps whether you're talking about ex gay therapy OR more importantly the behavior adjustment camps that are all over the continental United States. ((NEw Bethany Home for Girls in Corpus Christi, Texas)) if you want to google just one version. Fundamentalism is a mental illness that hurts a lot more people than just homosexuals (not to diminish them at all) making light of this subject matter or trying to lighten it really does a terrib

    Hi, I'm an ex fundi- there's NOTHING good about conversion camps whether you're talking about ex gay therapy OR more importantly the behavior adjustment camps that are all over the continental United States. ((NEw Bethany Home for Girls in Corpus Christi, Texas)) if you want to google just one version. Fundamentalism is a mental illness that hurts a lot more people than just homosexuals (not to diminish them at all) making light of this subject matter or trying to lighten it really does a terrible disservice to the thousands of people in our country alone who suffer from a host of mental and physical maladies due to overexposure to toxic levels of cortisol and adrenaline in their early developmental years.

    I don't know you, I don't know your work. Don't take this as a personal affront. But this issue is so bad, it's so god awful, that the only proper word I can use to describe what happens in these places and to these poor people, is pure evil.

    It's not ghosts, or vampires, or mummies - it's men committing heinous crimes in the name of God.

    Your detractors who are posting negative reviews probably don't know how bad it really is.

    I hope you reconsider revising this book. If you need an advisor I'd be more than willing to help you.

  • Nathan Burgoine

    Conversion therapy is hateful, violent, and kills queer people; people involved in it cannot be allies or claim to love queer people, and framing those who support conversion therapy as merely misguided or "loving" diminishes the evils suffered in reality.

    Revenge porn is abhorrent and a violation and an assault; no one has to forgive someone who violates and assaults them, and placing those who assault others as romantic leads, especially with the person they assault, is a dismissive choice at b

    Conversion therapy is hateful, violent, and kills queer people; people involved in it cannot be allies or claim to love queer people, and framing those who support conversion therapy as merely misguided or "loving" diminishes the evils suffered in reality.

    Revenge porn is abhorrent and a violation and an assault; no one has to forgive someone who violates and assaults them, and placing those who assault others as romantic leads, especially with the person they assault, is a dismissive choice at best.

    It’s unfortunate that has to be critical feedback.

    Full thoughts on this over at

    .

  • Jack Harbon

    I can't decide what to be more upset about.

    The real life victims of conversion camps voicing their concern for this harmful book being ignored and told to shut up? The idea that forced outings and non-consensual recording during sex acts aren't considered irredeemable, but instead, just "short-sighted"? Or the fact that so many straight women reading this book see no problem with authors profiting off of the pain and suffering and literal torture of queer people?

    There's a difference between dar

    I can't decide what to be more upset about.

    The real life victims of conversion camps voicing their concern for this harmful book being ignored and told to shut up? The idea that forced outings and non-consensual recording during sex acts aren't considered irredeemable, but instead, just "short-sighted"? Or the fact that so many straight women reading this book see no problem with authors profiting off of the pain and suffering and literal torture of queer people?

    There's a difference between dark and exploitative, and these two authors seem either ignorant or uncaring about that line. Either way, I hope they know that every time they insist their conversion camp isn't "all that bad," there's a gay boy, just like the one in their book, considering killing himself to escape the shame, abuse, and assault that goes on in those camps.

    Hope the money was worth it!

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