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Book Review of Child of God

Child of God
Child of God
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Book Type: Paperback
perryfran avatar reviewed on + 1173 more book reviews


CHILD OF GOD is a disturbing novel about a young man living in Sevier County, Tennessee in the 1950s who has become an outcast after his home is sold out from under him for non-payment of taxes. Lester Ballard is described as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." He is violent and becomes more and more depraved as he attempts to live and exist outside the social order. "Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller, as he falls deeper into madness, crime and degradation. He commits a series of sexually-motivated murders in the area, quickly drawing the suspicion of the townspeople, from whom Ballard hides in his cave. One of the novel's main themes is sexual deviancy, specifically necrophilia. Ballard, who the novel makes clear is unable to have conventional romantic relationships, eventually descends into necrophilia after finding a dead couple in a car."

This novel was very shocking as Ballard descends into isolation and madness. The character reminded me a lot of Norman Bates from Psycho but even more so. McCarthy's writing style for this novel was quite unconventional, lacking quotation marks, and switching perspectives which made it sometimes hard to follow. But overall, a very dark look at an outcast from society. This was also made into a movie in 2013 directed by James Franco. I'll be keeping an eye out for it.