Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Book Review: "Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes" by Evan J. Corbin

What would you expect from a book with a title like Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes? Evan J. Corbin delivers a quirky, moving, and tremendously thought-provoking read.

Imagine that the oldest translation of a Gospel is found in which Jesus explicitly condemns bigotry and homophobia. It changes the world quickly—the U.S. has elected its first lesbian president, the Pope has come out of the closet, and people treat the LGBTQIA+ community with respect and admiration.

Rick Harris, a pastor from North Carolina, is unmoved by these changes and continued to preach against the evils of homosexuality. When one sermon goes too far and offends the most influential family in the congregation, he is given a choice by the church elders: attend an atonement camp or get fired.

The atonement camp, run by drag queens, is utter torture for Rick and his fellow campers at first. Lots of alcohol, pedicures, and scantily clad pool boys loosen people up, but there are important lessons to be learned about the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as learning to understand the demons that we all carry.

“Binary gender subscribers. Trans deniers. Hypocrites, sinners, and fools. Honestly, I don’t care who you were before you came here. I only care about the people you’ll be when you leave. No one is hopeless. No one is beyond redemption.”

I found this to be funny and emotional, and it definitely made me think. Of course, the campers embodied all of the arguments you hear from those who criticize homosexuality, but you see that these characters are not without their flaws as well. And while at first it looks like the camp plays into all the typical stereotypes, there’s depth there beyond what you expect.

This is definitely a book I’ll remember!!

I was pleased to be part of the blog tour for this book. Thanks to Pride Book Tours and Evan J. Corbin for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review!!

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