Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dirty Parts of the Bible

Another very nice surprise. When I opened the email from a friend suggesting I read The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode I admit one of my eyebrows raised a bit (I've been practicing that, it doesn't come naturally for me like it does for my husband). I was intrigued when I read the synopsis:

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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.

This book was a semi-finalist for Amazon's "Breakthrough Novel Award" and rightfully so. I can't wait to read more from this author! With all of the religious discussions today entering even into our political arena, this was a refreshing glimpse of religion in days past (the 1930s) ...  as seen through the eyes of a young preacher's son as he reaches puberty.

The book deals with not only coming of age, but also religion, morality and love. I especially enjoyed the pholosophical discussions between Toby and Craw, the Negro hobo that Toby met when riding the rails looking for the family's cash stash. I was very surprised (and delighted) to read in the epilogue that the story was based on an ancient Jewish tale (that of Tobias and Sarah).

Don't be "put off" (or titillated) by the title. Expect a good storyline, a nice plot and a happy ending. And, seriously, what else can you ask of a book?!

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