The Sin Eater – Megan Campisi

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of those books that’s going to stick with me for a while.

I three categories of books that always stick with me, they’re very hard to explain. They’re kind of just something I keep as a reference in my own head, rather than any actual genre. They often overlap.

One I call “Oily Gin” and covers the likes of 1984 & Grapes of Wrath, where there are hardships and there’s dirt, and grit, heat, fried foods, and alcohol. Maestro, which I read in school, also fits into this category.

One is just “Food” and usually covers anything with a strong plot around food, baking, cooking, eating, such as The Sin Eater and The Edible Woman. The food has to be so present in the plot and so integral that it has you tasting and smelling the foods as you read along.

The last is “Dirt”. It’s stories about, or featuring, women that aren’t afraid to be written in foul, gritty ways. There’s blood, snot, piss, dirt, cuts and bruises, and all of the disgusting realities of life. The Infinite Now comes to mind for this one. The Sin Eater also fits in here.

The Sin Eater had such a strong theme of food as well as history and grit, and dirt, that it pulled me in from the very first pages. That it drew from reality was really grounding. Also, that it didn’t give the reader exactly what they want, but what was true to the story was frustrating and satisfying.

This story had me begging for a fairy-tale ending, for love and romance and heroism, but instead it was a fight until the very last page.

If you’re interested in history, as well as wild and strong female characters, not unlike those portrayed by the Brontë sisters, I would definitely give this a go. It’s one that I will want on my shelves to reread over and over.

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