I love boba tea.
Specifically, raspberry coconut boba tea, although I am not opposed to other flavors.
My sister introduced it to me originally. I don’t remember her exact words when she took me to the shop for the first time, but I’m sure it was along the lines of, “This is the best, most heavenly drink on the planet, and you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried it.”
That’s what I tell people now when they admit they haven’t tried it yet. I get enthusiastic.
I think it scares them.
Obviously, there isn’t much correlation between raspberry coconut boba tea and The Last Sin Eater, but just now, they are stuck in my mind together. Does that ever happen to you? You read a book somewhere, either on the beach in Portugal or in the corner of your library at home, and the book takes you straight back to that spot when you open it next. It also makes you hungry for that ice-cream—or raspberry coconut boba tea—that you had the last time.
Books carry memories. One of my favorite authors described it like flypaper . . . they catch your memories and keep them close between the covers until you can come back for them.
I have plenty of books that carry very vivid memories for me. Howl’s Moving Castle will forever remind me of a dimly lit, very empty dining hall in Scotland and the bread and cheese I lived on for a week there. Tarzan of the Apes reminds me of Portugal and hostel rooms. Jane Eyre reminds me of a hammock in the pines and the shocked look in an adult’s eyes when I assured her that yes, little twelve-year-old me was indeed reading this enormous book. And loving it.
And last Sunday, I devoured The Last Sin Eater while sipping (and chewing) on raspberry coconut boba tea on a sunny bench outside the movie theater.
This wasn’t my first time reading this deeply profound book. My favorite books are always read and reread many times, and I can safely say that The Last Sin Eater is and always will be one of my all-time favorites.
The story begins with Cadi Forbes, a child growing up in America in the mid-1800’s. Her clan, a close-knit group of immigrants from Wales, have settled in the mountains, forming an exclusive community that is wary of strangers and ruled absolutely by the cruelty and vicious leadership of Brogan Kai.
Cadi, barely ten years old herself, is haunted by the death of her younger sister. When her grandmother dies as well, she is once again faced with the reality of death and the overwhelming, crushing consequences of sin. In a society that understands the purity of God and the weight of sin, and yet has no concept of grace or forgiveness, Cadi is constantly surrounded by guilt and blame over sins that she is sure will haunt her forever. Only the Sin Eater, a man doomed to take the sins of the entire clan upon himself, can possibly help her, and she begins a frantic search to find the elusive man.
This deeply emotional and moving book brings to light the beautiful reality of what Jesus Christ did for mankind on the cross, and the sobering truth that no one but Jesus can take away our sins. Not even a Sin Eater.
It was no accident, no coincidence, that the seasons came round and round year after year. It was the Lord speaking to us all and showing us over and over again the birth, life, death, and resurrection of his only Begotten Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord.