Some books kind of defy a reviewer's opinion, so let me set the stage here for what you're about to read, then share a few pages from a book that I think is hysterically funny before I come back to sum up.
I've never been a religious guy. I was raised as a Jew, since I'm ethnically a member of the Chosen People, and I set foot in Temple a handful of times over the years – but not on any days that really meant anything. We just basically attended Temple on those rare occasions when my parents were in the mood to get dressed and go socialize with some people that they really didn't care about much. I was involved in a Jewish youth group for a year or so, which was mainly an excuse to smoke pot and talk about music with a bunch of kids who were around my age, and my family celebrated Passover whenever my parents felt vaguely guilty enough about my sister's and my bad Jewish upbringing to have us follow the traditions.
It's fair to say, therefore, that I was brought up with a secular upbringing and a classic coastal vague mistrust in the Bible and its power over society, but it's also fair to say that I've always been interested in Bible stories all my life– if for no other reason than because I'd like to understand the immense power that they have to sway minds and bring happiness to many peoples' lives.
So my disbelieving, secular humanist, irreverent self was the perfect audience for this ironic and sarcastic presentation of the Bible as a series of three or four page segments representing each Book, accompanied by wonderful cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler. Are you the right audience for it, too? Take a look at these pages and we can rendezvous here afterwards.
Did those pages make you giggle like a kid hiding in the back row of your church pew or did they make you shake with anger about the irreverence towards God and His holy word? Whichever side you fall on should be how you decide to buy this book. As for me, this is one of my favorite books I've read in a long time and I love shoving it under the noses of my friends to get their takes on it –well, not the friends who are the self-serious religious types who can't stand having irreverence attached to their view of the world. Seldom has it been more the case that your mileage may vary in regards to your opinion of this book.