Jeffrey Hall

Dear Editor:

The following is in reply to Reid Warren’s criticism on the Opinion page of the Tri County Record’s June 3, 2014 edition of my book review of Philomena on May 28th. This is the second criticism of one of my book reviews by Reid. You might think I am going to throw criticism back at Reid. However, this is not the case. Actually, I am getting to like him and it may be beneficial if we had breakfast or lunch together in the near future.

In reply to his first criticism, one of the things I stated in the TCR of April 15th was: “When I read a book, I try to take it personally. What does the story tell me? Do I agree with the author or not? How may I apply it in my life? Is there something in the story that rubs me the wrong way?” Possibly the name of the column should be changed to Book Beat: Impact.

As I’m sure Reid can tell I am not to book reviews what Siskel and Ebert were to movie reviews. I read and write for the challenge and enjoyment and hope to interest others in doing the same. Although it may not seem like it, I do not try to offend people. Reid is entirely correct in that it was a sin the way the nuns treated the young mothers and I could have included more about this as well as condemned the church’s practice. I provided the quote from the forward of the book so today people did not think I was “bashing” the Catholic Church. I do not agree with all the Catholic Church stands for, but do respect the Catholic Church and its followers. Similarly, I do not agree with all of the Jewish teachings, but I do respect the Jewish people.

I knew the portion that offended Reid would probably cause some feedback to the TCR and that’s why I kept my statements brief. If someone were to write an essay on Philomena they could write on the dreadful treatment of the young mothers by the Catholic Church, the character of Mike’s adoptive father and its effect on the family, the life of Mike both personally and professionally and the great things he accomplished. None of the topics would be incorrect.

When I started the book, I was under the impression it was about a son and mother trying to find each other over a 50 year span. I was not looking to get into the homosexual life. Although I did not count the pages, I believe as much, if not more of the book centered on Mike’s homosexual life than the horrors of the Catholic Church.

So, I guess that’s why Baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors of ice cream….Some like Vanilla and others like Pralines ‘n Cream.

Jeff Hall, Honey Brook, contributes