Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Preacher's Kid by Elmer W. Vaters

This book caught my attention when I was perusing the shelves of a used book store recently and I had to buy it.  After I had read it I mentioned it to my dad and wondered if he had read it.  Turns out he has a copy of the book that was given to him by the author.

The Preacher's Kid is an autobiography by Elmer W. Vaters, the son of one of the "founding fathers" of the Pentecostal denomination in Newfoundland and Labrador.  I was drawn to the book because I am a Newfoundlander and I was looking for books written by Newfoundlanders, but also because I was born and raised Pentecostal and I was interested in reading more about the history of the Pentecostal leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador.

My dad and Elmer Vaters had something in common - they were both preacher's kids.  From my reading of the book that seems to be about where the similarities end.  Well, let me rethink that.  I think they probably also have similar feelings about the disassembling of the denominational school boards a few years back.

I have mixed feelings about the book.  I don't think it is particularly well written and it was not at all what I expected.  I expected to read more about how his life was affected by the fact that he was a preacher's kid, and there is some of that there, but not as much as I expected.  I enjoyed the book for the glimpse of history in the book, especially about Joey Smallwood and about the school systems in Newfoundland and Labrador. It has sparked an interest in me to read more books that will give me first hand glimpses of our history.  It really is so much more interesting to read about history in books such as this rather than in text books.