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God Is Disappointed in You Hardcover – August 27, 2013
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"Mr. Russell and Mr. Wheeler have used irreverence to win an audience for what is actually a slyly empathetic retelling of Bible stories." — The New York Times
"As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked... The Bible is an incredibly weird book, and I thank Mark Russell for rewriting it in a way that made it understandable and interesting." — Boing Boing
"God Is Disappointed in You accomplishes an impressive goal: it takes the holy book—as inscrutable and culturally significant as it is—and makes it readable." — The Rumpus
"The Bible itself may be timeless, but, with its playful ribbing and wit, God Is Disappointed in You is most certainly a book made for this moment." — Culture Mass
"A hilarious book that’s often shocking, sometimes blasphemous, but always funny with a huge heart. This is Sunday School for the information age." — Graphic Policy
"God Is Disappointed in You cuts to the heart of the matter, and sometimes down to the funny bone, to translate the Bible into terms that allow a modern reader to understand the wild, weird, and wonderful 'essence' of the Good Book." — The Big Think
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God is not Disappointed in You summarises and condensates all the texts and books contained in the Bible in 220 pages, writing the story in a contemporary "dude-whats-up" sort of language.
Russell has an amazing wit, a a daring sense of irreverence, a profane humour, and a great insight into the incongruence of the historical figures and events the Bible presents us with. It reminds me, in a way, of the way Monty Python approached Biblical facts in their unforgettable film "The Life of Brian". However, Russell does not deform or twists the stories and behaviours or laws contained in the Bible no matter how nonsensical or farcical they might appear. We have to remind ourselves that these stories were written and compiled thousands of years ago. In the introduction, Russell says:
"It is not my intention to mock the Bible with this book, nor to endorse it, but merely to present it on its own terms in a way that is accessible and which relays the same sense of fascination I had when I truly discovered the Bible for the first time. If you want to reject the Bible as ancient superstition or digest it as the holy word of God, that's up to you. I just thought you might like to know what's actually in the hot dog."
Russell's approach to the Bible is not historical or contextual, but I would have been bored to death if he had tried to do that. That is not his job or intention. "God is Disappointed..." is not an exegesis of the Bible, just a funny book on the Bible's texts.
You might think that reading anything Biblical is too serious, uninteresting, or religious. You might adduce that you aren't a believer, or a Christian. It doesn't matter. Russell's book is almost better than the original, forgive my enthusiasm. The book will especially appeal to agnostics, atheists and lax Christians and Jews with a sense of humour. I guarantee, that you will still find yourself laughing out loud. To those who are practising believers, you might be irritated by the tone of some of the language used, but you won't find anything you haven't heard before in more dramatic formal terms if you go to Mass every Sunday and listen (i.e. with full attention) to the readings.
This not a book for everybody, though, because it touches on divine matters, and that is always a sensitive pruritus to scratch. Zealots, bigots, fundamentalists and any other -ish people who take religion to the letter might be angry, upset and even deprecatory. Knowing that, please dear bigot don't make a ziggurat of an issue about the authors' enterprise if you decide to go ahead and read it. You've been warned. You are very welcome.
The books that I found funnier and more enjoyable were, in the Old Testament, the Books of Nehemiah and Esther and the Songs of Songs; I also loved the Book of Ecclesiastes because Russell really likes it (how not to?) and condensates it quite well and with less mock than the rest. In the New Testament, I thought all the Gospels were lovely, but the wittiest to me was the Gospel of Luke.
I was a bit disappointed with Wheeler's illustrations. I like his drawing technique and character creation, and his illustrations are funny, some of them matching Russell's inspiration perfectly. However, many of the illustrations are just OK, and are overshadowed by Russell's tsunami-like wit. The cover of the book is fantastic, very simple, stylish and expressive.
The book is for adults as it contains swearing words, obscenity, profanity, sex references and other godly but sinful events happened thousands of years ago. Blame it on History; Russell is just making you laugh.
The adjective that most describe the book is hilarious.
It made it to my top five of the year.
The rendering of the illustrations for Kindle is so-so. Quite good if you are reading your book on Kindle for PC, but not good if you are reading it in your tablet. You will find frustrating the small size of the images and not being able to zoom them (or the attached text) in. I would have given the illustration way more space in the page for the Kindle edition of the book, something really easy to do if you think a bit more about the e-book reader.
When I got older I began to read it for myself and, to be honest, it was almost always a tough read no matter the translation.
It's a testament (pun intended) to the content itself that it gets read at all. The culture in which it is written is different than mine. In most cases even the culture in which it was translated into whatever version I would be reading is different than mine.
This is the first "translation" (and I suppose it's fair to call it that) that most closely mirrors the culture in which I live.
Of course that culture is one of snarkiness and irreverence so you can only imagine how this plays out.
If you grew up with the Bible, read this. If you didn't but have been wondering what all the fuss is about, read this.
If you have been burned out, burned up or burned through by the Bible or by others who have used it as a club or flame thrower, read this.
I've been in Church as an attendee, a member, a leader, a member of the staff and most recently as someone searching for a (and to be clear, at times avoiding) Church.
This is a wonderfully refreshing read that has renewed my faith in a wonderfully complex and challenging book. Whether you consider the Bible the inspired story of God's relationship with his creation . . . or a myth this "version" is worth a read.
Thank you to the author and illustrator.