“You want me to make you fall in love with me, and you’re giving me permission to leave and break your heart?”
Full disclosure, Tarryn Fisher has written my favorite book of all time, Mud Vein, which has unlocked pieces of myself that no other author has ever touched. I have never felt like someone has written a book personally for me more than that book. Tarryn Fisher always makes me feel like all my broken parts are on display, but she somehow makes me feel proud of them. And all of her books evoke this emotional response from me, and Atheists Who Kneel and Pray was no different.
“People die. We are not permanent. We have to hurry if we want things.”
Atheists Who Kneel and Pray is about a girl named Yara who is unable to stay in one place for long. She hasn’t had the easiest of childhoods, and one day she decides to leave her England home and travel to America. Yet, even in America she moves from city to city. She goes from New York, to Miami, to Chicago, to eventually Seattle where, true to Tarryn Fisher’s style, our story truly begins.
Yara loves to work as a bartender and one day while she is working in her new city of Seattle, a man walks in who feels differently than all the rest. All through Yara’s travels, artists have wanted her to be their muse. There is just something about Yara that attracts them, and not in the “you’re not like other girls” condescending trope way. Once Yara finds out that the man she can’t stop thinking about is a musician, she starts to question whether he wants love or heartbreak, even though she’s not prepared to give him either.
“That was the thing about pride, it shortsighted our hearts.”
I truly do think it’s best to go into this book blind. Hell, maybe I even told you too much in the paragraph above, but this book is seriously worth the experience regardless. I’d definitely recommended if you’re a contemporary romance fan, because I truly believe it’s a tier above any and everything out there, while also dealing with some pretty heavy topics that most of us choose to ignore in our everyday lives.
Like how we can be the result of past pain that we don’t even know we are harboring, and how it can mindlessly control our relationships and lives. People always say that our past shapes us, but it’s more accurate to say that ghosts from our past haunts and forms us, whether we realize it or not. And some of those ghosts bring some pretty heavy invisible baggage.
“You don’t forgive because they deserve it. Most of the time they don’t. You forgive to keep your heart soft. To move forward without bitterness. Forgiveness is for you.”
This book is real, and it depicts love in the raw form that it is and it does so unapologetically. And let’s be real, love is truly painful at times and feeling such strong things for another human being is scary. I’m not saying love isn’t worth it, or that the high cost/risk doesn’t equal the high reward, but I’m saying that giving yourself, no matter what amount, to another living soul who can one day decide they do not want what you’ve already given them is fucking terrifying. Basically what I’m trying to say is I really connected with Yara on a personal level.
“What’s the point in making yourself look like you’re not hurt, you know? We spend so much time pretending nothing can touch us that men have actually started to believe it.”
I only real “negative” thing I can say is that Tarryn Fisher is also the queen at writing heart wrenching angst, which I know isn’t for everyone. Most of her novels play with the “other woman” and/or “love triangle” trope, and this book is no different. But even if you have a problem with that trope, I still recommend giving this a try, because Tarryn truly does write these tropes better than any authors out there. Also, trigger warnings for depression, drug use, and there was a very small binge eating disorder comment that I believe could possibly be triggering.
“I suppose that happens after people are apart for a length of time. They become more themselves while you cling to who they used to be.”
No one writes like Tarryn Fisher. And I think it’s a writing style you either get and devour or don’t get and just will never understand what I’m talking about. She is such a primal and heartfelt writer and every time I pick up a new book of hers it is truly a cathartic experience. She has a visceral prose that is beyond lyrical and feels deep-rooted in both equal amounts of love and heartbreak. Tarryn Fisher is such a gift to this world and her stories are nothing short magic.
Tarryn Fisher writes the best love stories, because her love stories are about the dark parts of love that people don’t want to talk about. They are gritty, they are brutal, and they are so real. They are hard to read, but even harder to put down.
I read this in one day, because I just couldn’t put it down. Hell, I still can’t stop thinking about it. Also, look at all the quotes I put in this review. I mean, I could honestly highlight this whole entire book because it is so perfectly written. I loved this book and it is easily one of the best things I’ve read in 2017. Honestly, I will pray to Tarryn Fisher’s words and kneel at her alter for as long as she chooses to bless us with her writing.
“How often do we lie to ourselves and say we don’t care about something when we do?”