Crimes of Faith
by Anah Jochebed
Trafford Publishing

"Judgment, such risky business. Following and hindering this idealism bit. A loss of a leg, a mind no more, scars to the face, settling for scraps, I fought for my freedom."

Crimes of Faith comprises a multilayered look at religion, reality, and rage. The author jumps from litanies of a spiritual nature—"God begets one that is not"—to an account of experiences in the army, the harassment received from "military men coming into my window at late hours… begging me to kiss them." Jochebed recalls struggles with PTSD and other disorders, and discouraging treatment by the VA, but these ostensibly factual passages are mixed without coherent pattern among unrelated religious pronouncements, poetry, and philosophical musings. The text is liberally laced with overtones of the author's deep-rooted cynicism, overt sarcasm, and desperation to make a voice heard.

Because the book mixes fact and fantasy, it is difficult to grasp its central philosophical points. At times the religious ideas are muddled, while by contrast, the recollections of being misunderstood and mistreated in the army convey genuine frustration and deep despair: "My choices were [sic] kill myself, kill someone else or do drugs…" There are occasional poignant observations, too, as when the author notes that the parting of the Red Sea was symbolic of a journey between past and future. Jochebed was said to be the name of the mother of Moses, and the name Anah in the Bible is both masculine and feminine, so the gender of the author remains a mystery, adding yet another layer to the conundrums posed by this collection of poems, graphics, army experiences, and Biblical tales retold. This "variety pack" approach may appeal to those who prefer and esoteric, sampled reading.

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