A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews is a novel about how being in a Mennonite community can have such an impact on people's lives. Nomi is the narrator; her dad is Ray, her mom is Trudie and her sister is Tash.
Nomi talks about how controlling her religion and community is. She cannot dance, smoke, watch movies, wear makeup and other various activities that any other average teenager is engaging in. She tells us how she is living with her father and how they are both waking up every day to the same old boring routine waiting for the rest of their family to come back. Nomi's mom and sister both left three years ago without telling anyone where they were going and why.
Nomi has a friend Lydia in the hospital, whom she visits frequently. She is also being negatively affected by the controlling community. Nomi has an addiction to cigarettes, and she says that she doesn't want to quit. She doesn't really want to live until she is 40 anyway. Nomi and her father have a lot in common. He doesn't seem to care a lot about his life anymore either. One day Nomi finds him on the roof of their house during a thunderstorm. Nomi has a wish that one day her family will get back together one day and they will live in New York City.
Trudie and Tash both were rebellious. Trudie often let Tash skip out on mass. The Mouth was the priest and was also Trudie's brother. He kicked Tash out of the church because he thought she was too rebellious. Travis was Nomi's boyfriend. He did not treat her well, and he pressured her into having sex with him. As soon as Nomi finally got the birth control, they had sex and then he had an affair with another girl.
Throughout the book, it was clear that Ray was depressed. He started to sell all of the furniture in the house, and then he eventually left. Ray left the house for Nomi, but she took the car and drove away to escape.