27-year old Andy Burden was a child member of an extreme, religious-based cult. In A Train Called Forgiveness, Andy lives and works in the small town of Jocelyn, Washington. He suffers from an undiagnosed case of moderate, paranoid schizophrenia. The story juxtaposes Andy’s schizophrenic present, with the memories of his cult past. Throughout the story, Andy begins to discover that the voices in his head are echoes from his past, and he learns that he has the power to control them. He also begins to listen to a different voice, a voice that speaks directly to his heart. As Andy journeys across the country by train he meets an array of unusual characters. He begins to discover new ways of understanding and dealing with his past.
From the moment you begin reading, until the moment you finish, Dan Erickson draws you into the mindset of the cult member. His unique perspective brings an insight that the reader wouldn’t ordinarily have. Dan was there. Dan saw the inhumanity and raged against the injustice long before his adulthood. This is a powerful, moving and heavy story based on real events. Only another cult member would normally be able to fully understand this story but Dan has found a way to make it come alive and believable. There is hope and triumph as Dan explains how he learns to forgive.
I began this book not knowing what to expect. I found myself intrigued and read the book in a day. I love books that you enjoy reading so much you start to do research on the subject material the books were based on just as soon as you have finished the book. When I finished “A Train Called Forgiveness” I found every article I could on the cult this author was living with to try and satiate my intrigue.
I was able to take some new perspectives from this book that were enlightening. I had preconceptions from the beginning (I’ll admit it) about cult members, neither good nor bad, but I sometimes forget about the ones who don’t choose to participate and this book really opened my eyes to the fate of some of these adolescent individuals. I want to express that even though there are tragic events in the book there is also a lot of meaning in the title of the book and I feel that this gives the book a good balance.
I would recommend the book to anyone who wants a book that they can’t wait to read when they have to put it down. I am excitedly awaiting the next book…….
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