Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Reluctant Jesus by Duncan Whitehead

The year is 1999 and the millennium is fast approaching.  Baseball fan and thirty two year old confirmed bachelor and architect, Seth Miller, is content with his life, as long as the Yankees win and his mother stays away from his Greenwich Village apartment.  Seth's life though, is turned upside down when he is informed by his overbearing and over protective mother, that he is actually God's youngest son; and by default the second coming of Christ.

Initially convinced that his parents are crazy, his thoughts of their committal to a suitable care facility are superseded when he receives an unsolicited telephone call from God himself.  With Armageddon fast approaching, and due to some poor editing and proof reading of the Bible, Seth must assume the role of Christ and fight God's corner in the 'Final Conflict' between good and evil.  Despite his initial reluctance and attempts to shirk his new responsibilities, God is insistent and Seth is cajoled into undertaking the role of Messiah.  (taken from the back of the book)

If you are offended by the title of the book and/or the description, stop reading right now.  Don't pick up the book.  Simply move on to the next thing.

Now, if you're intrigued like I was, sit back and relax because this is going to be an unusual trip.

Before reading, preparations must be made.  Make sure you're fully rested, the babysitter is handy, and your phone is fully charged and sitting in your lap.  Now, you may proceed.

This is unlike anything I've ever read.  From the moment I picked it up, I was slack-jawed and captivated.  You know that look you get when the most dull person you've ever heard makes the funniest joke ever?  That's the expression I wore throughout the entire book.  Duncan is anything but dull, though.  It's just surprisingly funny.  Just when you think things can't possibly get any odder, they do!  You find yourself entertained and confused and it's just wonderful fun!

I got a great workout while reading this book.  I can't tell you how many trips I made to my son's room or to find where I'd left my phone.  Some things have to be shared as they're experienced.  You read a section and you're so shocked and surprised that you just can't contain it.  You have to tell someone else.  An entire line of people are waiting to read this book since I've plagued each of them with random parts of it.  It's preposterous and possible at the same time.  

My worry with this book is that there will be some out there that consider it blasphemy.  Take it for what it is.  It's an entertaining 'what if' story.  Entertaining doesn't quite cover it.  Though there are some laugh out loud funny parts, most of it is an experience.  Duncan has a way of making the most impossible seem plausible and you're left shaking your head in wonder.  

Take a few hours from your life to share with Seth.  You'll find failed miracles, talking animals and even some Space Invaders.  Seth isn't the Messiah that God planned him to be, but just wait until you meet the anti-Christ.   Things are not what they seem and just when you think you have a handle on it, the rug will be pulled out from under you.  Actually, that's a lie.  There is no point in the story when you think you have it all figured out.  

Personal Note:  Duncan, you didn't just make me smile, you made me grin and made me fall in love with your work.  Thank you so much for sharing with me :) I can't wait to see what's up next :)

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