REVIEW: The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode

Format:  Kindle
Genre:  General Fiction
ISBN:  0012198153
Published:  January 2011 (ebook)
Setting:  Michigan, Texas

Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Back of the Book Blurb:

The Dirty Parts of the Bible is a humorous novel set during the Great Depression—a rollicking tale of love and liquor, preachers and prostitutes, trains and treasure, sure to appeal to fans of Water for Elephants, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Mark Twain, and Johnny Cash….

It’s 1936, and Tobias Henry is stuck in the frozen hinterlands of Michigan. Tobias is obsessed with two things: God and girls.

Mostly girls, of course.

But being a Baptist preacher’s son, he can’t escape God.

When his father is blinded in a bizarre accident (involving hard cider and bird droppings), Tobias must ride the rails to Texas to recover a long-hidden stash of money. Along the way, he’s initiated into the hobo brotherhood by Craw, a ribald vagabond-philosopher. Obstacles arise in the form of a saucy prostitute, a flaming boxcar, and a man-eating catfish. But when he meets Sarah, a tough farm girl under a dark curse, he finds out that the greatest challenge of all is love.

My Thoughts:

This was a simply written book – a novel based on a story, as the author explains on the back cover.  The title, of course, is what grabbed me initially, especially since this was a novel and not nonfiction.

What I found, in the end, was a sweet story – a fable really – about faith vs. unbelief, about lust vs. love, about misery vs. joy, about greed vs. contentment, and about seeing vs. SEEING.  Because it is written in such simple language, the debth of the story kind of sneaks up on you.  At the surface it is hilarious & awkward, seemingly trite, predictable, perhaps even childish.  But there is certainly a message of redemption, even if it seems far-fetched and takes a circuitous route.

It’s worth reading, for all of the above reasons.  But if all you’re looking for is a story full of the post-adolescent angst of an awkwardly naive, socially inept, and embarrassingly innocent (like a 12yo boy), hilarious (without meaning to be) 20-year-old wannabe (but-can’t-quite-be) atheist, then this book is for you.  If nothing else, it will pass the afternoon with a few giggles.  But if, on the grander scale, you can relate to repeated incidents of God’s redemptive grace, then that is the icing on the cake.

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