Short Review #11: God Shot by Chelsea Bieker (2020)

Review: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
Title: God Shot: A Novel
Author: Chelsea Bieker
Published: 2020 (Catapult, New York)
Pages: 325
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Literary
Link Here

God Shot held up against a painting

Hello everyone! I had mixed feelings about this debut novel. God Shot is the first novel by author Chelsea Bieker. As much as I enjoyed Bieker’s writing, this book left me feeling a little raw and disturbed. Maybe it was me being triggered, but I was surprised at how adversely I felt towards this book. The story was redeeming towards the end, but overall I thought it was powerful because of the central theme.

I decided then to tell Artichoke to be ugly. To make herself as ugly as possible and not worry too much about beauty or what anyone thought of her. To be unpainted, to live in the breeze and stand under waterfalls and not be worried over the height of mountains, of quiet trails deep in the woods. To not be scared of roads slick with rain, of valleys dry in drought. I’d tell her ‘no fear’ and she’d know it was the deepest truth and she would be everything I was not. She would be wild and free. And I wouldn’t worry because I knew the secret. That through all of her ugliness, all her hiking and running and jumping and falling and getting back up and saying no and saying what she wanted, her scraped hands, her freckled skin, her smart brain, she would of course be beautiful” – Chelsea Bieker, God Shot

God Shot takes place in a small town outside of Fresno, CA called Peaches, where a religious cult-like group practices led by a charismatic man named Pastor Vern. The story centers around a young member of the cult named Lacey May, and is told from her perspective. Lacey’s alcoholic mother abandons her, and is sent to live with her grandmother named Cherry. Lacey goes through her own hardships while left on her own, and searches for her missing mother. The forceful title resembles the book’s character, but the glittery background on the cover does not resemble the book’s grit. The novel is less about the cult, but more about the coming of age story of Lacey and the relationships between women. Lacey’s story is sad and revealing, but once the reader comes past the unfortunate events, her tale is full of hope and growth. The book focuses on what it means to be a woman, and the friendships and belonging between women.

This book is mildly graphic, but I recommend this book if you’re looking for a gritty and heartwarming novel about female relationships and growing up through trial and tribulation.

I give this book a 3 out of 5!


*DISCLAIMER: This book contains strong themes such as rape, sexuality, and alcohol abuse*

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