Top critical review
22 people found this helpful
Starts off strong
on February 7, 2010
I had heard the author reading the Adam and Eve story on NPR, which I thought was wonderful. It was a whole different take on the Biblical characters, and was a fascinating (and funny) imagining of their respective characters and motives...making 3-D people out of the relatively flat and familiar Bible characters. And the first half of the book is very much like that and highly recommended (also great to read at the same time as R. Crumb's illustrated version of Genesis).
But then it runs out of steam, and gets too far away from the source material. King David is made into a sort of failed Shecky Greene wanna-be comedian, and it's more of just a superimposition of flat Jewish stereotypes onto Biblical characters. It has little flashes of brilliance, such as the following passage (thoughts of David): "Gone are the carefree days of slaying giants. As you get older you strip away the things you don't have time for, and then you are left only with things you have time for. Your life gets skinnier and skinnier until you wonder why you go on. You go on because there are things that must get done. You become no longer a person so much as a place, an unfunny place where things come to get done." Unfortunately, they're sandwiched between thick layers of schtick.
Of course, humor is in the eye and ear of the beholder. If you're a deep Catskills devotee, then you may get a lot out of the second half. In my eye, the first half is worth the price of admission.