gods in Alabama

- Joshilyn Jackson

Goodreads Book Blurb:

For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now.

When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene’s door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene’s break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home.

As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption.


My Review:

not my cup of tea:
The blurb for gods in Alabama is so misleading. I definitely thought it would be meet-the-parents: racist southern fiction style. Instead, it was tragic family history, dark secrets, and murder.

There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.

There are gods in Alabama. I know because I killed one.

Lena is a hot mess. Instead of taking any responsibility for her actions, she pretends she’s responsible while never maturing past the teenager she was when she left home. I understand the compulsion to ‘make deals with God’ to deal with a traumatic event as a child. Twelve years later, Lena should have grown up. Instead, she plays the victim, makes decisions for other people, and squirms her way out of facing her problems, ultimately making her life much more complicated than it needs to be.

Burr almost saved this story for me. He’s the most likeable, mature, level-headed person in the whole book. He deals with Lena’s insanity so well it almost makes her a competent human. She wouldn’t have achieved closure or resolution without Burr’s calm, consistent assistance. And I 100% agree with Burr’s mother – Lena is not the girl I would’ve picked for Burr either.

After all the meet-the-parents drama I expected, Burr’s introduction to Lena’s family was a total non-issue. I mean, yes, they were super racist. But it never went anywhere, and it seems like everyone agreed (without any discussion) to brush it all aside and pretend it wasn’t happening.

gods in Alabama can be summed up with: lots of buildup, whole lotta fizzle.

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