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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Gospel According to Larry
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Gospel According To Larry by Janet Tashjian is a very uplifting novel about a boy named Josh who rights internet sermons under the name of Larry about anti-consumerism, and gains a huge following with still no one knowing who he is. The novel is written extremely well and brings the reader in.

There are many strengths in this novel. It is written in the first person and seems like you are actually in the book with Josh, getting the big picture by using descriptive writing, An example of this is a quote about how he is in love with his best friend, Beth. "Good old Beth. I wanted to tell her she was the only person who truly comforted me when my mother died. But from my emotional straightjacket, all I said instead was Thanks. I shuffled off to my next class with my heart aching." The quote shows exactly how it feels and gives you a feeling of being there with him.

I would highly recommend this book to children and adults of any age. The story is very fun to read and hard to put down. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars, it is one of the best books I have read in awhile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I ate 'TGATL' with a spoon. I literaly skipped out classes to read it. This is a great tale of Josh Swenson, a 17 year old senior struggling with the loss of him mother, teen issues, a crush on his best friend (Beth), and being a prodigy. He was doing equations with magnetic numbers when he was 2 and doing numerical equations on napkins for fun. This child genius lives with his step-dad who, oddly enough, is in the advertising business. Josh, who is very anti-consumerist, wants to express his feelings in secret, so he creates a virtual alter-ego, Larry. He creates a website nad give sermons about a different kind of activism. But when betagold hunts him down...well , I won't tell you the ending. I reccomend this book to anyone.
Oh, and for those who seem to believe no teenager thinks that way, you can look to your left, becasue I hear I am. I identify with Josh/Larry because I am very much like him.
2 thumbs up!
--Buggy--
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seventeen-year-old Josh Swensen is your not-so-average teenager, dealing with many normal teenage things. He worries about his placement in the social hierarchy of high school, and has been in love with his best friend, Beth, since the eighth grade. But where most teenagers are worried about passing their classes, Larry breezes through them with absolutely no sweat. You see, Josh is a genius. He taught himself how to do algebraic equations when he was just two-years-old, and since then he's always enjoyed learning. Which is what brings us to Larry. Josh, afraid of people not listening to his views on anticonsumerism, creates a website called THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LARRY, where he posts all of his views anonymously, and soon everyone in the country, teenagers and adults, are logging on and listening to everything that he has to say. Suddenly Larry is a God to everyone. The only problem is that now the whole world is trying to find out who the real Larry is, and Josh just feels trapped inside his own creation. Now it's up to him to figure out a way to dodge being exposed, or his life could be destroyed forever.
I picked this up at Barnes & Noble on a spur of the moment whim. I had never read anything by Janet Tashjian, or had even heard of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LARRY, but it sounded interesting, so I purchased it. Let me tell you, this book will change your life. Josh is a complex character, who creates almost an alter-ego with Larry, to vent out all of the frustrations he has in life, but is too afraid to say out loud. He is interesting, and intelligent, and captures the world, in his intricately written, and poignant views on anticonsumerism. I will be sure to pick up Tashjian's other novels, as this was absolutely amazing, and something that all teens should read. A must-have.
Erika Sorocco
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story of Josh Swenson, high-school senior, and all-around advocate for social consciousness, is framed by a fictitious Janet Tashjian being approached in the supermarket by a raggedy young man who says that he has a story to tell. The young man ends up being the main character himself, while the bulk of the real novel is the result of the dog-eared manuscript that the author reluctantly accepts.

The meta-fictive introduction (and ending) of this novel sold me on it, but the compelling story within convinced me that Tasjian is an author to watch, and that The Gospel According to Larry is a novel I will encourage my middle school students to read for years to come. It is a well-done bit of call to action disguised as a compelling piece of fiction. Or is it the other way around? While the preaching is a bit heavy-handed in the end, the novel's title certainly admits to this from the get-go, and the audience the novel is meant for is still at the age when a little spoon-feeding wouldn't hurt, when it comes to the social issues the author is addressing.

Seventeen-year-old Josh is the namesake behind his cyberspace pseudonym, Larry, who has gathered quite a following, due to his website that offers rants (sermons) on topics such as consumerism, environmentalism, and big-business bullying of the general public. Heavy subjects for the average young adult looking for a light read? Perhaps, but Tashjian's delivery of these subjects comes through Josh's youthful, and believable voice, and is juxtaposed with a suspenseful plot involving the young pundit's hidden identity, which he wholeheartedly attempts to conceal, as well as a love story subplot.

The book would appeal mostly to high-ability middle school readers and above, male and female. The character of Josh comes through a plausible and likable first person narrative, and Tashjian does an excellent job of developing his character slowly, without hitting the reader over the head with obvious statements about him or his life. Instead, we are left to discover Josh in pieces, as the story is revealed.

All in all, the novel is enjoyable and leaves one reexamining the world around them in a new way. If all books did this, the world would be a better place.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
i rarely write reviews for books - i'm not one to voice my opinion (very un-Larry-like) - but I just had to say a few words about this book. i was positive that josh swenson was real, and as soon as i finished his story i stopped by [a] website to read the reviews to confirm if this book was fiction or fact. silly me - it was only fiction. josh - the most amazing character i ever encountered - was only a fictional character; much to my disappointment. but i'm glad to have met him - real or not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book "The Gospel According to Larry" is a great philisophical novel about a very intelligent boy; Josh/larry; who starts a website about anti-consumerism([...] This book sucked me in and didn't let go until I finised it. In the book Josh only owns seventy-five items and whenever he wants anything he thinks over it for days until he decides he really wants it. I notice myself thinking really hard about an item before I buy it. This started to happen after I read this book. I will pass this on to my friends because some of my friends pay ridiculous prices from plain shrits. The message I got from this story is to think for yourself and don't follow the masses. Follow the beat of your own drum! Be unique and be yourself. The language for this book goes right with the story. The book was not too long or too short it was just enough to finish with a well fed mind. The good thing about this book is that it is a true story about a real person who actually came up with these ideas and sermons for the website and the book. The little story before the book about how Josh had to track down Janet Tashjain to publish this book is very interesting. This would make a great book to read in classrooms and discuss because consumerism is a part of every day life. Quoted in one of larry's sermons " Slip on your Gap jeans, your Nike T-shirt, your Reeboks- or maybe even your Cons if you think that makes you cool in a Kurt Cobain kind of way etc." This makes you realize how advertizing companies are invading our daily lives. The book was profound and a great read; so if your into anti-consumerism and want to enjoy a good book read "The Gospel According To Larry".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I sat down and read the entire book straight through, cover to cover. And I cried three times. Then I cried one more time when I found out it wasn't true. This was a wonderful book and I'd recommend it to any mildly disenfranchised teenager... or anyone else, for that matter. I don't care if it's true or not, it changed me. I plan on reading it again tomorrow... and that is a rare occurance, indeed, when I can read an entire book then read it again right away.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Gospel According to Larry" is a pretty good book. It makes you stop and think about all the stuff you consume every single day. Everyone complains that teenagers are self-absorbed and whiny, but then when a character like Josh comes along and tries to make a difference they trash the book for being stupid, unrealistic, or whatever. Josh, the main character, is like many teens in that he cares about the world but isn't sure how he can help. He's an intelligent 17 year old who's in love with the girl next door, Beth, even though she only thinks of him as a friend. He cares about nature, reads Thoreau, and owns only 75 personal possesions. But he also has an Internet alter-ego, Larry, who writes sermons about consumerism and celebrity worship. Beth and thousands of other people love Larry, but Josh constantly worries about keeping his indentity secret, believing that people won't listen if they find out who their hero really is. When the secret gets leaked, he has to make some hard decisions about how to protect his message and his ideals against a flood of media and corporate deluge.

I like Josh's character, with all of his flaws, because he is human, just like the rest of us. He struggles to find his identity, make peace with his stepfather and probable step-mother-to-be, and tell Beth how he really feels. He makes some questionable choices, but don't we all? Give this book a chance, because it might make you actually think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This story is about a 17 year-old boy named Josh Swensen ,who is brilliant and just wants to make a diffrence in the world.

Josh is infatuated with his best friend Beth. Beth is infatuated with an internet mysteryman named Larry and a big jock who keeps dumping her and then going back to her. Little does she know Larry is Josh's alter ego. Evey night Larry (Josh) posts another sermon(his opinion about the man). He also posts another picture or clue about who he is.

Finally he is discovered and the publicity and people bugging him is outrageous. so he is forced into hiding and faking his own death. He lives for a while sneaking around and living in his underground fort recording his story down.

He finally comes out with his story and gives it to a writer he finds in the grocery store (the author who created the book,Janet Tashjian) and he is once again exposed.

I really liked this book. This book is for people like me. I dont really like to read,but this book,I would definatly read again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely fabulous- I loved it! It is a very accurate, refreshing, and often depressing take on the impact that advertising and consumerism have over our lives and what we can do to change it, one person at a time. "The Gospel According to Larry" is so well written that as I read it I could view the story being told as if I were Josh Swensen, the narrator, myself. This a truly entertaining and meaningful read, and I highly reccomend this to all literate people willing to help change the world.
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