Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review - Certainty by Victor Bevine


When you’re fighting an injustice, can it be wrong to do what’s right?

Inspired by the scandalous true story that shocked a nation at the close of WWI.

With America’s entry into World War 1, the population of Newport, Rhode Island seems to double overnight as twenty-five thousand rowdy recruits descend on the Naval Training Station. Drinking, prostitution, and other depravities follow the sailors, transforming the upscale town into what many residents—including young lawyer William Bartlett, whose genteel family has lived in Newport for generations—consider to be a moral cesspool.
When sailors accuse a beloved local clergyman of sexual impropriety, William feels compelled to fight back. He agrees to defend the minister against the shocking allegations, in the face of dire personal and professional consequences. But when the trial grows increasingly sensational, and when outrageous revelations echo all the way from Newport to the federal government, William must confront more than just the truth—he must confront the very nature of good and evil.

Based on real-life events, Certainty recalls a war-torn era when the line between right and wrong became dangerously blurred.



You'd like to think this kind of thing was fiction, that it did not happen back then.

That it wasn't still happening today.

But it is real.  It happened both back then and now.  That's why books like Mr. Bevine's Certainty are important, to hold up the mirror.

Some of the prejudice against homosexuality is out of ignorance.  Another part is due to fear.  A lesbian friend of mine once said, "Why is it that someone, who can't imagine anyone of the opposite gender could possibly ever want them, is at the same time absolutely certain that anyone who is gay (and their same gender) is after them?"  Think about it.

It is disheartening, to say the least, that American soldiers were imprisoned just for being gay.  I suppose institutionalized prejudice makes it easier for people to pass off guilt, "I was only following the law."  That just makes my skin crawl.

It is downright evil (in my opinion) that people in positions of power and responsibility in the military and/or government, would organize gangs to accuse suspected gays in order to cull them from our armed forces.  What?  Was 'gay-dar' discovered before the 80's and 90's (when I first heard of it)?  Did gay soldiers wear little down-pointing pink triangles on their uniforms?  Were there flashing pink neon signs following them?  Of course not.

Bevine's command of prose brings out both the poignancy of the gay soldiers' predicaments and the self-righteousness of people who despise others because they are 'different' from 'us'.  You see, the trouble with prejudice is that when (not if) it gets out of hand, the accusers start naming people they don't like for other reasons.  Prejudice provides us a way to conveniently rid ourselves of things we don't like - whether or not we are in the right.

If you view homosexuals as 'other' than yourself, Mr. Bevine's book will probably not turn you into a pride-marching heterosexual.  If you believe the second great commandment, to 'love thy neighbor as thyself', Certainty might just make your blood boil.  Either way, you will come away changed.



For over thirty years, Victor Bevine has worked as an actor, screenwriter, audio book narrator, director, and more. A graduate of Yale University, his acting credits include many prestigious roles onstage as well as roles in the film version of A Separate Peace and countless television shows. He has read over one hundred and eighty titles as an audiobook narrator; in 2010, he received an Audiophone Award for his narration of the Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Beak of the Finch. He has written several screenplays, including Certainty, which was chosen for two prestigious writers’ conferences and which served as the basis for his first novel. His thirty-minute short film Desert Cross, which he wrote and directed, won accolades at the Athens International Film Festival. Currently, he serves as CEO of the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF), of which he is co-founder. He resides in New York City.


(Disclosure:  I received a print copy of Certainty by Victor Bevine from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)

No comments:

Post a Comment