Vincent Louis Carrella is a writer and designer of interactive digital media who has created original adventure games (most notably Bad Mojo) and animated web serials and characters for DreamWorks, Warner Bros., SaturdayNightLive.com, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Pulse Entertainment, and Darkhorse Comics. He is cofounder of Drew Pictures and founder of Jinx Digital Studios, and he lives with his wife and daughters in northern California.
Serpent Boxby Vincent Louis Carrella
In the deep mountains of Appalachia, the Flints of Leatherwood, Tennessee, spread the word of the gospels by handling deadly serpents and drinking lye in front of large gatherings of the faithful. Believing his ten-year-old son Jacob—called Toad or Spud—to be a prophet, Charles, the patriarch, takes the boy down a long and arduous path as they travel
In the deep mountains of Appalachia, the Flints of Leatherwood, Tennessee, spread the word of the gospels by handling deadly serpents and drinking lye in front of large gatherings of the faithful. Believing his ten-year-old son Jacob—called Toad or Spud—to be a prophet, Charles, the patriarch, takes the boy down a long and arduous path as they travel the back roads of the postwar Deep South in search of God and plumb the depths of their unorthodox brand of faith. But sudden, shocking tragedy will shatter Charles's cherished dream of building a ministry and a permanent church—and set young Jacob on a dramatically different course.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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In the end, this book got 5/5 instead of 4/5 for a number of reasons. It had a strong sense of authority that I just couldn't shake, it impressed me with its unique history, and I believe every word of it. It is an emotional story, one that deals with family and religion and faith and the harsh realities of the real world. It's a mix of Ron Rash and Cormac McCarthy and I enjoyed it immensely. VLC I hope you keep writing, as you have a lot to share with the world, and a very powerful, visceral voice that has left a mark on me.
I found the Serpent Box to be well written, full of descriptions and engaging characters. The story takes place in Leatherwood, Tennessee. Leatherwood, Tennessee is located deep in the Appalachian Mountains. A place steeped in superstition and the old ways. Preachers, who handle snakes, drink poison as part of their belief that nothing can happen to them as long as the Holy Ghost resides within them. This novel is about the Flints of Leatherwood and, Jacob the young blessed child of Charles and Rebecca Flint. Born under unusual circumstances in the hollow of the Tybor tree during a storm and marked by a lightning bolt birthmark. With his birth and subsequent deformity, his lot in life is not an easy one. Follow Jacob as he matures and grows into a special person. He travels through the Southeast United States with Hosea after an encounter that alters both of their lives and those around them. There is much about this novel that one well garner with the reading, and the characters while showing about life in rural Tennessee after World War Two. Has much changed from the years before? You will have to read and determine that for yourself. I found it to be an interesting look into a different culture and religious beliefs. As a first novel for Mr. Carrella, I found his writing to be well worth the read, albeit, the ending left me a bit cold, and wanting. Others may not feel this way. I am not sure what I expected after reading four-hundred plus pages, but I felt there should be more in some way. The Epilog that does answer some of my questions, but felt it did not go far enough. Perhaps there is a sequel that will come out to further the story of those relationship formed and what happens next in Leatherwood, Tennessee. Serpent Box is a good read, also, an education about snake handlers in a religious setting for those interested.
Reading Vincent Carrella's book is like taking your soul on a mystical backwoods appalachian retreat. The 'Holiness' people have a religious schema that includes drinking poison and handling deadly snakes. It is hard to imagine a life where religion permeates all aspects of life. Carrella paints a picture of rural life where the magic can be found in everyday things and faith is part of everything. The characters are vivid and enlivened with a lyrical voice that leaves you thinking about them throughout the day. In the end I didn't know whether to feel sorry for them or envy their pure faith. The story and the writing are filled with grace, power, and beauty.
Vincent Carrella¿s first novel is lucid. Anyone who cares about the nature of faith, the redemptive powers of love, and the mysterious call toward God that some experience will find this book compelling. It is not a novel ¿about¿ religion. It is a mystical 'and nearly mythical' tale of family, love, tolerance, beauty¿with characters who feel genuinely called to God. Indeed, not only do the characters think they are called to God, they ARE called¿ the main character especially. Jacob Flint is described as a true ¿holiness¿ child¿and Carrella brings this ten year old boy to vivid life. With wonderful descriptions of the natural world mingling with a sharp ear for dialogue, the book is at once a part of our world and also somehow not of this world¿full of people who rise up out of love to handle snakes and drink poison to prove the power of the divine. In my opinion, many contemporary novels start off with a ¿bang¿ and then slowly sputter toward the end¿ perhaps because of the market pressures of the bottom line publishing world¿but Carrella¿s book avoids this trap. Indeed, one of the things that struck me most about this book is its structure. The author obviously cared as much about the rising action and tension as he did character, detail, and the vividness of his ¿dream.¿ The last hundred and fifty pages are tense, heartbreaking, and redemptive. I laid awake for a long time after I finished reading, the last few sentences ringing in my head. I highly recommend the book.
This book is a journey of faith of family and of courage. The characters are real, you can understand each one of them and appreciate the role they play in the big picture. This is not a statement on the Holiness religion it is a story of the personal journey toward faith, each character has his or her own way of believing but they all have a faith that does not falter even through adversity. The background is so well developed that you are immersed in the cool dark woods. The ending is both surprising and rewarding. It is a very good book, I really got caught up in it and there were times I could not move along fast enough to see where I would go next, I highly recommend it.
Excellent read, could not put the book down till it was finished. Interesting characters and use of detail is amazing. This fictional book would be great for those who like reading about Appalachia and Holiness religious beliefs. Even though I enjoyed this book, I feel that practitioners of the Holiness Serpent Handling faith would be upset over it. But then again it is a work of fiction and I WOULD READ IT AGAIN and recommend it to others. I look forward to reading other novels from Mr. Carrella and consider myself honoured to be one of the first outside of family and publishers to get to read it.