Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson | Teen Ink

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

May 2, 2022
By CatsRead270 BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
CatsRead270 BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

As I explored colleges, a large factor in my decision was to go somewhere South. My extended family lives outside St. Louis, while we live outside of Milwaukee. But I am attracted to the south for a change in scenery and quality of life, not to run away from my past like Arlene in Gods in Alabama. 

As I read through this book I continuously compared myself to Arlene, and consider the questions that we both have running through our heads to how they might apply to others. When moving away from home many consider factors such as jobs, education, family, cost of living, connections, etc. Yet many may not think of a factor is God. Joshilyn Jackson, the author of Gods in Alabama introduces this compounding variable to Arelene’s life, and yet this variable becomes a huge part of the reason why she completely changes who she is, eventually leading to her adopted Chicago name of Lena. 

Arlene, her sophomore year of high school, made three promises to God. One being she would not have sex again until she gets married. Two being she will not lie, no matter the circumstances. And three being she will not come back to Possette, Alabama. She stayed true to these promises, moving far up north to Chicago to become a professor at a university. She is with the love of her life Burr. They have abstained from sex over the last few years they have been together. Yet as relieved, those promises are unraveled as she returns back to Alabama to her family. This leaves readers wondering if she intended on breaking all of these promises. 

The story develops like a fine wine, there are not much of many surprises, yet it is still engaging enough to keep reading to find out more. Interpretation is not very prevalent in the book, as it is laid out for the reader’s enjoyment. As we gain more and more knowledge of the complexities of Arlene’s life. With an ending that throws in a bit of surprise, yet it is wrapped up perfectly. 

Exploring the complex dynamics of early adolescence to adulthood, depending on family, God, and location seems pretty strange. Gods in Alabama explores that exact complexity, yet it feels as if you yourself are juggling these same things. It makes you stop and think about how you look at life and all the aspects that come along with it. Overall, this book is a great comfort realistic fiction read, with a little bit of mystery, romance, and drama all wrapped up into one. Little slow in development, but is well worth the time. 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.