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Child of God

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In this searing novel, bestselling author Lolita Files tells the tale of a Southern family torn apart by the secrets it struggles to keep. Everybody knows everybody else's business in Downtown, Tennessee. Neighbors while away afternoons at the local bar, swapping rumors about voodoo, incest, and illegitimate children. Usually they're gossiping about the Botens. In this epic In this searing novel, bestselling author Lolita Files tells the tale of a Southern family torn apart by the secrets it struggles to keep. Everybody knows everybody else's business in Downtown, Tennessee. Neighbors while away afternoons at the local bar, swapping rumors about voodoo, incest, and illegitimate children. Usually they're gossiping about the Botens. In this epic saga, Lolita Files unveils the hidden lives of three generations of the Boten clan, a family as cursed by fate as they are blessed with hope. There's Grandma Amalie, who's willing to sacrifice everything for her son; there's Grace, who manages to conceal the identity of her child's father for more than twenty years; there's Aunt Sukie, whose strange power over her husband, Walter, is matched only by the strength of her dark magic; and, finally, there's Lay, whose secret betrayals will set the Boten clan in motion, sending its members on a quest for self-discovery that will lead them from one end of the world to the other. From the drug-infested world of inner-city Detroit to the jungles of Vietnam, Lolita Files deftly captures one family's struggle to drag demons out into the light in this compelling story of the bonds of blood, forbidden love, sacrifice and redemption.


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In this searing novel, bestselling author Lolita Files tells the tale of a Southern family torn apart by the secrets it struggles to keep. Everybody knows everybody else's business in Downtown, Tennessee. Neighbors while away afternoons at the local bar, swapping rumors about voodoo, incest, and illegitimate children. Usually they're gossiping about the Botens. In this epic In this searing novel, bestselling author Lolita Files tells the tale of a Southern family torn apart by the secrets it struggles to keep. Everybody knows everybody else's business in Downtown, Tennessee. Neighbors while away afternoons at the local bar, swapping rumors about voodoo, incest, and illegitimate children. Usually they're gossiping about the Botens. In this epic saga, Lolita Files unveils the hidden lives of three generations of the Boten clan, a family as cursed by fate as they are blessed with hope. There's Grandma Amalie, who's willing to sacrifice everything for her son; there's Grace, who manages to conceal the identity of her child's father for more than twenty years; there's Aunt Sukie, whose strange power over her husband, Walter, is matched only by the strength of her dark magic; and, finally, there's Lay, whose secret betrayals will set the Boten clan in motion, sending its members on a quest for self-discovery that will lead them from one end of the world to the other. From the drug-infested world of inner-city Detroit to the jungles of Vietnam, Lolita Files deftly captures one family's struggle to drag demons out into the light in this compelling story of the bonds of blood, forbidden love, sacrifice and redemption.

30 review for Child of God

  1. 4 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    The first sentence of this book will keep you captived. The secrets this family hides our deep in the shame of unforbidden love. This story takes the reader in the dark places of incest, fear of one's spouse, hatred of one's identiy, and homosexuality. The family structure seems complicated with unwritten lines not to cross. The characters are so well written you the reader feel the anguish these characters feel. You laugh, cry, feel disappointed, and ashamed while reading. The good message is th The first sentence of this book will keep you captived. The secrets this family hides our deep in the shame of unforbidden love. This story takes the reader in the dark places of incest, fear of one's spouse, hatred of one's identiy, and homosexuality. The family structure seems complicated with unwritten lines not to cross. The characters are so well written you the reader feel the anguish these characters feel. You laugh, cry, feel disappointed, and ashamed while reading. The good message is through the pain and sufferings life continues on. The ending will surprise you. Benny, Amalie, Grace, Big Daddy, Walter, Sukie, Ophelia, Lay, Polo, Coolie, Javier, Caesar Bucksport, Hailey, Booty, Caroline, Hamlet, and Horatio are all part of the Boten family. A family you will not forget. An excellent insightful and well written book. Quote: There's no sweeter stench than the scent of a burnng baby. Sukie pointed her finger in Grace's face. "I'ma tell you this one time, and that's it; stay away from my husband. Unless you want me to stir up some shit with your own." He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mocha Girl

    My nose was glued to the pages—simply stated I was fixated with Child of God from the first sentence in the novel through the end wondering how the whole drama was going to play out in Downtown, TN, Detroit and Lansing, MI. This novel has it all: voodoo/mysticism, murder, incest, family secrets, misguided emotion all wrapped up within primarily three generations of the Boten family. Files does an excellent job moving back and forth through time and giving each character their own history (even t My nose was glued to the pages—simply stated I was fixated with Child of God from the first sentence in the novel through the end wondering how the whole drama was going to play out in Downtown, TN, Detroit and Lansing, MI. This novel has it all: voodoo/mysticism, murder, incest, family secrets, misguided emotion all wrapped up within primarily three generations of the Boten family. Files does an excellent job moving back and forth through time and giving each character their own history (even though a bit sordid at times). Almost everyone in the Boten family struggles with one emotion “love” – how to show it, what it means, what they’ll do to receive it, the effects of misguided love, etc. They are on a road of self-discovery where the truth is slowly revealed and ends with a semblance of resolution. The critic's reviews give a solid overview of the novel, so I won’t repeat it here. I must warn that this book is not for everyone…but I also think it’s a great work of fictio

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Goodman

    Perhaps once in a decade will there be a book written so beautifully that the words move you so far beyond the page and into the margins where all the goodies are. This book is wonderful taken from Shakespeare and Flaubert and a dash of Hemingway here and there. The subject matter is a little tough but worth diving into. The characters will stay with you forever and have you wondering about the Auntie that know one ever talks about. Family secrets, lies, lust, incest are just a few topics in Chi Perhaps once in a decade will there be a book written so beautifully that the words move you so far beyond the page and into the margins where all the goodies are. This book is wonderful taken from Shakespeare and Flaubert and a dash of Hemingway here and there. The subject matter is a little tough but worth diving into. The characters will stay with you forever and have you wondering about the Auntie that know one ever talks about. Family secrets, lies, lust, incest are just a few topics in Child of God. But faith, family, and most of all love take center stage. I would recommend this book to anyone 14 and UP. READ IT NOW!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Berry

    Best book ever!!!! Once I picked it up and started reading it I just couldn't put it down! Family taboo, secrets and incest in an African American family.....O no we don't acknowledge yet alone write about it! Ms. Files out did herself with this one. This book just needs to be made into a movie and I will be the first in line purchasing a ticket!!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ife

    dark yet beautiful read... this book will remain with me for along time. Def made me cry in some spots.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    SO HILARIOUSLY BAD. First you get drawn in because it's all salacious and gossipy and whatnot, but then you're like, this story is not very good, this author needs an editor, but whatever, it's an easy read and everybody likes gossip, so you keep reading AND EVERYONE KEEPS DYING in horrible, horrible ways and people are like "oh man, I'm super sad about my dear family member dying" but no one is ever like "OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW MANY TIMES DO PEOPLE IN THIS FAMILY NEED TO BURN TO DEATH HOW HAVE NO SO HILARIOUSLY BAD. First you get drawn in because it's all salacious and gossipy and whatnot, but then you're like, this story is not very good, this author needs an editor, but whatever, it's an easy read and everybody likes gossip, so you keep reading AND EVERYONE KEEPS DYING in horrible, horrible ways and people are like "oh man, I'm super sad about my dear family member dying" but no one is ever like "OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW MANY TIMES DO PEOPLE IN THIS FAMILY NEED TO BURN TO DEATH HOW HAVE NONE OF US EVER NOTICED THAT THIS KEEPS HAPPENING" and not only is it predictable but everything keeps getting explained to you multiple times and you're like I GET IT and then, I don't know, love conquers all? Love conquers some? There's a baby born in a car at the end because obviously where else do people have babies. Oh my bad, spoiler alert. At the very least it was a super quick read so I didn't lose much of my life to it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robbin

    I'm stunned. Never before has a book left me stunned. Briefly, this is the story of a multi-generational Tennessean family deeply mired in decades of incest and resulting births, intrigue, drama, murder, lies...If this was a soap opera, ooo wee!!!!! I should've known something was up with this book...the first sentence is "There's no sweeter stench than the scent of a burning baby." Initially, a little confusing with all the different characters telling their stories during various years, halfwa I'm stunned. Never before has a book left me stunned. Briefly, this is the story of a multi-generational Tennessean family deeply mired in decades of incest and resulting births, intrigue, drama, murder, lies...If this was a soap opera, ooo wee!!!!! I should've known something was up with this book...the first sentence is "There's no sweeter stench than the scent of a burning baby." Initially, a little confusing with all the different characters telling their stories during various years, halfway through I was able to sort everything out and the last third of the book zoomed by as the climax kept climbing higher and higher and higher. Amazing creative juices, I hope, to put this one together but I would not recommend if you are faint of heart.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I picked up Child of God at a garage sale with no clue as to what it was about. And I must say, I love when I stumble upon a book that turns out to be a great book! From the very first disturbing line this book had me hooked. It is the type of book you just cannot put down. I have read other reviews that describe Child of God as dark and I will agree the subject matter within the pages, rape, incest, drugs, murder, arson etc. is indeed very dark, the author never made this a dark book. I recently I picked up Child of God at a garage sale with no clue as to what it was about. And I must say, I love when I stumble upon a book that turns out to be a great book! From the very first disturbing line this book had me hooked. It is the type of book you just cannot put down. I have read other reviews that describe Child of God as dark and I will agree the subject matter within the pages, rape, incest, drugs, murder, arson etc. is indeed very dark, the author never made this a dark book. I recently read Vinegar Hill, and that IS a dark book!! Child of God was written in such a way that the only thing one can feel besides shock is hope that someone comes out of this ok. I was thoroughly captivated by this book and deeply touched on such a profound level.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mahoghani 23

    This is a family full of wickedness, incest and murderers. They're wicked by nature. They're used to doing things that are unacceptable in society. The conception of Ophelia was thru the incest of Grace and Walter, brother and sister and history repeats itself through Ophelia and Lay; brother and sister. Sukie, Grace's sister-in-law, committed murder by setting Ophelia's parents house afire. In return Grace's husband gave Sukie her comeuppance. This whole family is not without sin and no matter This is a family full of wickedness, incest and murderers. They're wicked by nature. They're used to doing things that are unacceptable in society. The conception of Ophelia was thru the incest of Grace and Walter, brother and sister and history repeats itself through Ophelia and Lay; brother and sister. Sukie, Grace's sister-in-law, committed murder by setting Ophelia's parents house afire. In return Grace's husband gave Sukie her comeuppance. This whole family is not without sin and no matter the type sin, each just as deadest as the other.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arletha

    Marvelous! The author really takes the reader for a ride in this story. WHEW! I have read this book no less than 5 times since it was published and it gets better each time. There are so many facets in this story and it would be a great book for a class to read as an assignment. It's good study material for descriptive writing, family relations, deceit, hatefulness, etc...Just read it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Excellent book. If you haven't read it yet, it's a must read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This was a great book, I couldn't put it down, if you want something you can't put down, read this book, its excellent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    ..definitely a dysfunctional family..

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn Darkchild

    I don't even know what to say about this book. In little, timy, postage-stamp-sized Dowtown, Tennesee, the Boten family is the strangest thing going, and the center of most of their tales. Well I wanna tell ya: Them Botens would be strange no matter WHERE they lived. Grandma Amalie is a Touch Too Close to her son Walter, who's a Little Too Close to his sister Grace. Walter's wife is a... A Witch. No let me stop, she's just a Root Worker, which means she's into Voodoo. Grace's kids are So Far Out Ther I don't even know what to say about this book. In little, timy, postage-stamp-sized Dowtown, Tennesee, the Boten family is the strangest thing going, and the center of most of their tales. Well I wanna tell ya: Them Botens would be strange no matter WHERE they lived. Grandma Amalie is a Touch Too Close to her son Walter, who's a Little Too Close to his sister Grace. Walter's wife is a... A Witch. No let me stop, she's just a Root Worker, which means she's into Voodoo. Grace's kids are So Far Out There you can't even describe it, but Lay is the worst one: his lack of morals is rivaled only by his Aunt Sukie, whom he readily admires. The things these people go through and the things they do to each other had my head spinning. The storyhad all the ingredients the best books are made of: It was wild, outrageous, shocking... Why? I don't know. But it was very entertaining. Sometimes I was ashamed of myself, yet I couldn't put this crazy book down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kellee

    Excellent read! Initially, I thought there were too many characters to keep up with, but all the characters were necessary to understand the background of the characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I did not like this book. In the beginning I found it hard to keep all the characters straight. The subject of incest is relpulsive. Beating a child to the point of bloodying his little body is appauling. Drugs, murder, betrayal, intimidation. I sought out this book because the Goodreads reviews were so good. I was quite surprised to find too much of the ugliness of life between it's covers in 310 pages. In the end, love does prevail which is somewhat redeeming for this story. While life is not I did not like this book. In the beginning I found it hard to keep all the characters straight. The subject of incest is relpulsive. Beating a child to the point of bloodying his little body is appauling. Drugs, murder, betrayal, intimidation. I sought out this book because the Goodreads reviews were so good. I was quite surprised to find too much of the ugliness of life between it's covers in 310 pages. In the end, love does prevail which is somewhat redeeming for this story. While life is not a Pollyana existence, I prefer to spend my free time on less depressing subjects.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dejuan

    Subject matter-wise, this was a painful read. But lyrically and literature(ly) - and I know the latter is not a word - this was one of the most amazing pieces of work I've read in quite awhile. Ms. Files' ability to take a complex and disturbing subject and make it a page-turner without making it overly grotesque or sensational is nothing short of fantastic and awe-inspiring. I'm anxiously awaiting her next project, but in the meantime I'm going to find everything she's written to date and read Subject matter-wise, this was a painful read. But lyrically and literature(ly) - and I know the latter is not a word - this was one of the most amazing pieces of work I've read in quite awhile. Ms. Files' ability to take a complex and disturbing subject and make it a page-turner without making it overly grotesque or sensational is nothing short of fantastic and awe-inspiring. I'm anxiously awaiting her next project, but in the meantime I'm going to find everything she's written to date and read them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Schenley

    The story was written well, that's why I give it an OK rating but the story was too disturbing to get anything higher. The amount of instinctual sex made me very uncomfortable and I couldn't help but think that this was a perpetual sexual stereo type of people of African descent being drive by their libido. It's one thing to have a story about love, but to have a story about incest in a family that transcends generations is another thing. I didn't see any beauty in the pain or suffering of the c The story was written well, that's why I give it an OK rating but the story was too disturbing to get anything higher. The amount of instinctual sex made me very uncomfortable and I couldn't help but think that this was a perpetual sexual stereo type of people of African descent being drive by their libido. It's one thing to have a story about love, but to have a story about incest in a family that transcends generations is another thing. I didn't see any beauty in the pain or suffering of the characters and this book was nothing but pornography.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dee M-Charles

    This was a great book. The only thing i didn't like was the incest BUT everything else had me glued. Each chapter was well written, wasn't too drawn out, was straight to the point and had u reading on to find out what happen next. Definitely gonna be listed as one of my favorite reads!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cosima

    Dysfunctional family, indeed. This book was a lot more complex than I thought it would be. The characters are all flawed and vivid and original. There's a lot more incest than I expected but it's not too graphic, thankfully. I've certainly seen worse. Although the narration does jump around from character to character, it's not hard to keep track of what they're all going through. The only thing that didn't make sense to me was the author's choice to label each section by year/years and then jump Dysfunctional family, indeed. This book was a lot more complex than I thought it would be. The characters are all flawed and vivid and original. There's a lot more incest than I expected but it's not too graphic, thankfully. I've certainly seen worse. Although the narration does jump around from character to character, it's not hard to keep track of what they're all going through. The only thing that didn't make sense to me was the author's choice to label each section by year/years and then jump back and forth in time. At times I would have preferred a more straightforward approach. I enjoyed the quotes from various real-world people, writers and such, that also marked the beginning of each section; they relate perfectly to what the characters are going through at any given time and add depth to the story. The story isn't perfect but it's well written and riveting. It never stagnates. I was almost sad to see it end as I grew so attached to the characters. Recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Josee

    It was hard to put this book down! I read it in 4 days and I was very sad when it was over. There are many characters in this book, I did struggle a bit to keep them all straight and the story does go back and forth in terms of timeline but it makes complete sense to do it this way. I highly recommend this book. It was very good!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Valencia Quarles Shelby

    This book is a page turner. I hated putting the book down. The ending was not what I expected, but was entertaining nonetheless. If you don't mind the gore and southern twang, then you should definitely read this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I read this book within 4 hours. Picked it up from the library and didn't stop. Next thing I knew, I was at the end. This story about a family, its secrets and redemption. Definitely a must read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Davida

    I recently remembered this book - I absolutely loved it! I read it on my trip to Miami for my 30th bday. The characters were so rich and the story was filled with the family drama associated with families rooted in the South.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jalisa

    I could not put this book down! It was such a page turner. I found myself talking to the book and feeling the ups and downs of the characters. The ending was a bit weak, but the book was very juicy, I would definitely recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy Taylor

    Before reading this book, you must think with a very open mind. As reading it you will become upset with the character's test and trial. This book is an excellent examples of generational cureses,can they be broken? You will have to read the book to find out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darrell

    A good read. Deals with Blacks in the old southern south set in the 60's. There are some really disturbing issues that this this book deals with. It also mixes in some urban issues. i would recomend this book as a good read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Corey Matthews

    Gripping It brings you in and never lets you go! It's not particularly deep but it is strangely spiritual and though some parts feel completely unbelievable there is a sense of love that moves this story along. A quick read that isn't for the weak at heart!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Talk about a generational curse .. Man this family was messed up and had alotttta sh*t going on and not in a good way... Great read if you can stand the incest, drama to the extreme , anal rape ( I had to rest a few days after that ) heart break...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Not Now...Mommy's Reading

    Wow! What an amazing read! This was my first book by Lolita Files and I can't praise it enough! A Southern family is tormented by family secrets - homosexuality, incest, murder, voodoo, rape, drug addiction. A suspense-packed and fast-paced read that's hard to put down!

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