Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#BookReview: Jesus Boy - Preston L. Allen

I don't even know where to begin with this review.  At the recommendation of two readers and writers that I greatly respect, I gave Jesus Boy a try.  It's hilarious, they said.  You'll love it, they said.  Fine. I'll admit that there were funny bits and pieces, but honestly, the only reason I continued listening to it was my other requested audio books had not come in at the library.

Some books are better read than listened to and I think, in this instance, I would have been better off reading.  For some reason, it was decided that there should be three narrators for the story.  And that would have been great had those three narrators been assigned specific characters.  Instead, the narrators were alternated throughout sections of the book, while still voicing the characters in first person, so it became difficult to figure out which character they were supposed to be until they said something or something was said to them that clued you in on which character was speaking.

When we first meet Elwyn Parker, he's an upright and judgmental musical prodigy.  While other teens spend their time hanging out, flirting with members of the opposite sex and having a good time, Elwyn uses the teachings he's learned the Church of Our Blessed Redeemer Who Walked Upon the Waters to evangelize at school.  Elwyn's crush since high school has been Peachie McGowan, but Peachie is in love with Barry, another church member.

As Elwyn's Bible thumping Grandmother tries to keep him on the straight and narrow, he gets caught in Sister Morrison's web. A widowed forty something, Sister Morrison is the late wife of Elwyn's benefactor.  After all, Brother Morrison not only bought Elwyn's first piano, he also financed his college education through a special scholarship. In the meantime, Elwyn's grandmother hasn't always been the God fearing woman she claims to be, and her dealings with the Morrisons go back several years.

Preston L. Allen calls out every kind of hypocrite imaginable with Jesus Boy.  Some of the twists and turns were unexpected, while some were slightly obvious.  Overall, I enjoyed the story line, even with the narration confusion, but I didn't necessarily care for the ending.  After dragging out the story line for so long, Allen seemed anxious to wrap it up quickly and skipped over detailed storytelling for several years, instead giving readers a summary of what had happened through conversations between characters.  I would have preferred to see the story line more evenly distributed.

Listening time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Published: April 2010

Theme: Old Time Religion by The Caravans

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