Monday, July 25, 2011
Review:Godless by Pete Hautman
Edition: Paperback with Reading Group Guide
Source: Purchased from local bookstore @ $8.99 US
Genre: Young Adult
Release/Publication date:October 25th 2005
Publisher:Simon and Schuster for Young Readers
After gettign beat up by the town bully, Jason Bock has a "religious experience". While lying on the ground recovering from getting punched hard in the face, he looks up to see the town's water tower, illuminated by the sun in a heavenly way. That gets him thinking "water is life" and Jason invents a new religion worshipping the water tower. He calls it the "Church if the Ten-legged God" (because the tower has ten legs) and it's followers are called "Chutengodians". Jason gathers a strange band of worshippers for the religion: there's his best friend, Shin who is a snail farming, overall nerdy guy; the attractive Magda Price whom Jason has a crush on; the violent, unpredictable bully named Henry Stagg (yup the same one who beat up Jason at the beginning of the book); and Daniel, the local pastor's son. As each member struggles to leave their mark on the religion, Jason realizes that it's a lot harder to control a religion than it looks. But he has to gain the reins fast before the first Chutengodian ceremony high atop the water tower goes horribly awry.
I loved every page of this book. The characters were all so vivid and unique but still meshed together naturally. The writing style is laid back and witty. Jason is the narrator and he is usually sarcastic and sometimes humorously awkward with people. This book shows the ways a religion can affect people in different ways and on a smaller scale how religions are changed by its followers. Shin gets an obsession while Jason struggles to keep the religion pure and as what he envisioned. Also it represents the hard times and ridicule a new religion goes through. I think Godless is an allegory of the struggles in the history of actual religions disguised as an amusing story. That said, I like (love really) that Jason feels like a teenager in voice and in actions. Being a teen I know that we are stubborn, especially whe it comes to adults tryign to change our minds. I feel that aspect in Jason instead of the usual teen-suddenly-becomes-reasonable-after-life changing-experience-crap. Huzzah for stubborn teenagers!
Level of Romance: None really
Rating: 5 out of 5