"Converting Kate" is about a teenage girl whom questions and rebels against the conservative Christian sect in which she was raised. Despite Kate's father's lack of faith and passion for literature, she was brought up by her mother in the Holy Divine Church, a religious sect that forbids its members from intermingling with non-members, reading non-Christian literature, or consuming any mainstream media while mandating ritualistic practices such as fasting on each sunday and reading the bible each day. After her father dies, she and her devout mother move into her aunt's house/bed and breakfast in Maine where she begins to question the restrictions imposed by the Holy Divine Church and reflects upon how it has decreased her quality of life. Against her authoritative mother's wishes, Kate explores the world beyond the church by participating in typical teenage activities such as socializing with her fellow classmates, dating, experimenting with different clothing styles, reading her father's thought-provoking books, and joining another church with a pastor whom is a closeted agnostic. She is forced to confront a lifetime of indoctrination when the minister whom she adores is scrutinized for allegedly permitting youth group members to watch (gay) porn on the internet, never disclosing that the extensive viewing was actually committed by the son of an influential family in the town. Kate's relishes her journey into the outside world as she explores and defines her identity while differentiating her individual spirituality from the doctrines that limited her personal growth.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I love how the author depicts Kate's plight as realistic, believable, and deep. Since the life that she had previously known is as alien to general society as the outside world was to her, Weinheimer conveys Kate's perspective in a relatable fashion while highlighting her individuality as a calendar.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is located at the end of chapter six. Kate's mother confronts her about reading books from her father's collection which consisted of classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird." I love how the author details her mother's reaction when "[her] eyes darken; one blue blood vessel along her temple bulges. Her voice is quiet and so slow and steady it frightens [kate]. 'You've. Been. Reading. Your. Father's. Books'" (Weinheimer 79-80). Since Kate was homeschooled, her mother thought of Kate's reading literature that would be acceptable in public schools as blasphemous. It interests me because most parents would be thrilled if their child had the intellectual inclination that Kate has, a trait that she inherited from her father.