I read this in about two weeks, which is pretty good for me recently. Of course, part of that was wanting to finish it before a friend of mine did, since she got it after me.
Anyway, The Sin-Eater’s Confession is a bit of hard read if you’re anything like me. It’s not that the vocabulary is elevated or anything, but Ilsa Bick executes the anxiety Ben – the main character – feels so perfectly that it translated from the page into my skin and bones. I felt my hands shake and my heart beating fast like when I get anxious, and Ben was definitely anxious.
So the synopsis of this is that Ben is in the military (in Afghnistan; I knew there was a link between this and The Kite Runner), and he has this secret that he has to deal with (just like Amir. Hmm…). That secret? Well, like TKR, it isn’t too terrible of a spoiler – it’s in the summary of the book, for heaven’s sake.
Ben has a busy life. It’s his senior year, and he’s trying to balance college applications, his mom’s overbearing wishes for him, the many clubs he’s in, and volunteering at the ER all while trying to figure out what he wants to do. But it’s one night at the ER that sets the story in motion. Someone at his school died, and so he and his father go to help out at their farm. There, he befriends the brother of his friend. He and Jimmy grow close, and then, due to a series of somewhat unfortunate events, Jimmy dies.
Ben’s Amir-esque secret? He watched Jimmy die. And didn’t do anything about it.
I can’t help but feel like Bick was inspired by Hosseini, because the two stories are similar in that the main character has to deal with a disturbing secret. It’s a fantastic read, and a pretty good coming-of-age story, if you’re into that.
The starking difference between TKR and TSEC, though? While Amir tells his story in retrospect several years later, Ben’s retelling is mere months later, possibly even weeks at one point. It’s a really great story, and it left me thinking about the future and all.