BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford

Publication Date: July 14, 202
Format: Hardcover
Genre:  Fiction

Publisher: Grove Press
240 pages
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


It’s 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine’s father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church – a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But Justine does her best as a devoted daughter until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever.


I loved the description of this book but was sadly disappointed after reading it.  Each chapter is a leap in time making the book feel a bit disjointed.  I also found that it was sometimes difficult to figure out who was speaking since some chapters are narrated by Justine and some by Reney. 

Justine started out as a strong willed woman hell bent on giving her child the best she could but somewhere she just became wishy washy and forgettable.  Reney also started out strong and then petered out to something unrecognizable.  There was also the story of a lesbian couple and the slow boy who lived next door who were all more interesting than the main characters but their story is left dangling - you get a glimpse of them in the future but the chapter on them is so strong it almost felt like I was reading a different book.  

The descriptions of the Holiness church and the strict ways in which Justine grew up were interesting but overall not enough to really hold my attention. No matter how much I tried I just couldn't fall in love with this book.  I felt next to nothing for the main characters and after I finish writing this they will be a distant memory. Definitely not something that will stick with me. 

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