I am not sure where to begin. I could start here—allowing the beauty of K.Z. Snow’s own words begin this love story:
“With gentle deliberation, he laid a hand on the side of Greg’s face… and let Greg fall into his eyes. That was how it felt anyway. And as soon as Greg let himself fall, Faron’s face moved closer, just drifted slowly forward like the white parasol of a dandelion seed, until his eyelids lowered, shutting Greg behind them.”
Two men, from worlds so different yet so alike. One from the restrictive Amish community, one from devout and rigid Catholicism… both gay… both alone… both in need of forgiveness and love. They meet at a bar. Faron, an Amish man on the final years of his “rumspringa” (time of searching) has just torn himself loose from a destructive relationship and the life of being a “rent boy.” Greg, recently having left a monastery, still a virgin, unsure whether the lack of desire to engage in sex stems from fear, or guilt, or god-forbid, no real urge, offers the very intoxicated Faron a ride and a place to stay for the night. And so their relationship begins… a careful dance… a meeting of souls.
As time passes, the two men collide in continuous moments that expose their hearts. They begin to understand what it is to have a friend, someone who has walked a similar path, who feels the guilt of a religion that has condemned them and their “urges.” Yet their differences are so very real. Greg struggles with the idea of sex as a whole, how to go about it, why he fears it. While Faron struggles with the fact that he will never be “clean” in God’s sight, in his parent’s sight, in his own sight. He struggles with self-worth and feels so remarkably lost — they both feel so remarkably lost.
“He’s as lost as I am, Greg thought, reflectively running a forefinger over his chin, watching Faron’s open, expressive face. We just got lost in opposite directions.”
My heart wept while I read this book. I recalled my own best friend and his being kicked out of our church when he declared he was gay. I watched these two men, hide their burgeoning love for each other—both feeling less than adequate to ask the other for that love, and I simply shook with anger at a church, a religion that would make men feel this way—think this way.
There was lengthy passages where the author remarked upon how religion uses the bible to justify it’s own narrow views—picking and choosing vague passages while overlooking vast references to sins that, as an educated society, we dismiss as dogma and dead doctrine. Unlike some, I never felt these moments self-indulgent or “preachy” in the least. Rather I think Snow used them to reveal the inner workings of her two main characters, to show us how they tick, how they thought, why they had arrive at this point in their lives.
And those two characters… oh god… how lovely they were. I wanted to wrap them up and hold them close and tell them how wonderful they were—how they were so much better than anything they had ever been told… and yes, how the God that I believed in surely loved them without hesitation.
This story was stunning–simple, beautifully written—stunning. Five stars. It deserves so much more. It deserves a place on your shelf, a respectful place next to your favorite books, your honored classics. This was so much more than a love story… this, well this, was a tribute to gay men and women everywhere who have ever felt condemned because of how they choose to love. Thank you, K. Z. Snow for this beautiful story, A Hole in God’s Pocket. I think it is fitting to close as I began…with this author’s own words.
“I saw myself, saw how soiled I was. Or thought I was. From that minute on, I felt like I’d slipped through a hole in God’s pocket. Just took a dive into the dirt and was lost forever.” Greg kissed Faron’s hair. “You never hit the dirt. You just slid from one pocket to another… God isn’t small, honey. God has a lot of freakin pockets. And we just found the one we belong in.”