Farrar, D.F. (2014). The Door of the Heart. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse.
Adult / Fiction / Contemporary / LGBTQ
I gave this book 4 out of 5 Stars
Publisher's Blurb: Married for twenty years, Tammy & Ed Sloan suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a hot button current social issue when their high school aged son is punished for bullying a fellow athlete who is gay. The wife of a conservative Texas politician, Tammy begins to reexamine her values after the incident blows up in the media and embarks on a mission not just to view LGBT issues through a loving Christian perspective, but to become an active participant for positive change. A generous look at the gay community through a Christian lens, Diana Finfrock Farrar’s novel interweaves multiple story lines that feature endearing characters, both gay and straight, each confronting the consequences of homophobia and demonstrating a need for the understanding and the embracing of the LGBT community, especially in the heart of Bible-belt reactionary-ism.
HALL WAYS REVIEW:
“Maybe it’s not your job to pass judgment on whether
or not someone else is right with God.”
In The Door of the Heart, Diana Finfrock Farrar presents a story that on the surface seems as if it will be contemporary fiction. There are indeed several story lines and multiple characters and perspectives that connect; however, none of the characters' stories are fully resolved at the end, which will be problematic for readers expecting a novel with a typical plot line and clear resolutions. Essentially, The Door of the Heart really is a very informative vehicle to shine light on the political and social injustices suffered by the LGBTQ community. Much of the book focuses on the incredible emotional struggle it is for people to change their belief systems to be inclusive and loving instead of exclusive and judgmental. The author gives a lot of good information for readers to consider. Unfortunately the delivery often seems contrived and especially in the first half of the book, it mires down the story so that the plot struggles to get a holding. Many of the chapters seem more like reflective essays than connected parts to the whole. Again, the information is excellent and thoughtfully presented, but the plot suffers -- which may or may not be a problem for readers.
“It was paradoxical . . . how the wide-open spaces of Texas and the small world view of the good-old-boy-mentality could so easily co-exist within the same state — or within the same person.”
The dialogue is natural and the characters are certainly authentic and will feel familiar to Texans and Bible Belt residents. Texas author Farrar obviously has seen the narrow-mindedness that is sadly still prevalent among her fellow citizens, and she must have experienced people who use their religion to justify their hate. The personalities are recognizable though perhaps a bit exaggerated -- I'm a native Texan and have lived here over forty years and haven't heard the terms "darlin'" and "hon" in nearly the quantity as they are used in the book (thank goodness). The book does need another editing pass as there were consistent punctuation and agreement errors and a few typos.
Farrar wrote the book before the Supreme Court ruling on allowing same sex marriage, so readers may feel a little more hopeful in the knowledge that things are changing for the better. The numerous LGBTQ resources and end-notes in the book also show that anyone called to make a difference has plenty of ways to do so; it is likely that anyone reading this book WILL feel called, and that's a good thing.
First time novelist, Diana Finfrock Farrar, is a native Texan and financial adviser representative who loves snow skiing and traveling, competes in sprint triathlons, and is an ordained deacon and elder in the Presbyterian church (PCUSA) where she sings in the choir every Sunday. Blessed to have been born into a family that taught her how to live a life of faith, love and relationship — the idea of family has always been at her center. Feeling called to make a difference, Farrar has penned her first novel with the hope of educating her readers on issues of empowerment, injustice, and compassion. She and her wife, Charlotte, were married in Ontario, Canada in 2010. They live in Texas and share five children and three grandchildren.
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