Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Final Testament of the Holy BibleThe Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the most hippy book I have read; more hippy than a beat has ever written, with the clear message that “love and laughter and fucking make one’s life better” (pag 259)

Hearing that James Frey has been sued by his readers, I couldn’t wait to read “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible”. But I had to wait three months until the only copy from the Danish Public Library became available. And, of course, I had great expectations, which only partially were fulfilled. The subject is challenging: what would it actually be like if the Messiah arrived, or if Christ returned? The concept is original: a story of Messiah, as that of Jesus Christ from the Old and New Testament. The idea is quite simple: the only religion that should be on earth is LOVE. No matter it is spiritual or physical. Most physical, since the orgasm is “the closest thing any human on earth would ever know about the Heaven “ (pag. 232).

And Messiah, as he came now, is given by the perspective of his family (mother and sister), of acquaintances, friends and followers. And the story is interesting until page 216, after which everything starts to repeat, over and over again. The message of love (love between man and woman, between man and man, between woman and woman, between man/woman and many others) becomes a cliché, a redundancy and a reduction. It becomes really boring to hear the same idea all over again in different circumstances, but almost within the same words: the religion is a shit and the humanity is going to destroy itself in the name of greed and religion.

The characters are sketches, but I believe that Frey did not purposely want to develop them further. He simple counted on the archetypes of their name: Ruth, Jeremiah, Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, Judith, Peter. But not Esther, who, in my opinion, is the most confusing character (she is old enough to sign her mother hospital papers, but “too young” to leave his older brother and live her life!).

I liked the first half and I became bored of the second. It was not only the repetition that annoyed me, but mostly the reductivism of thought that only “love and fucking” can save the world. This book is definitely challenging, but is far away of being a revolutionary book, as the back cover promised us.
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Unknown said...

Sunt, intr-adevar, putini barbatii care reusesc sa fie empatice cu femeile. De obicei, barbatii care au fost crescuti printre femei -o matusa, o bunica foarte apropiata- reusesc sa le inteleaga mai bine, sa vada dincolo de o anumita masca. N-am citit cartea, am vazut filmul de vreo doua ori. Mi s-a parut prea deprimant chiar si pentru mine. Exista un moment al depresiei cand incepe discutia despre sinucidere. Atunci se instaleaza o anumita stare despre care as putea spune ca nu este tocmai ceva normal. Vreau sa spun ca discutia despre sinucidere e una, in timp ce ispita ei este altceva. Or, dupa parerea mea, a avea ispita sinuciderii este un semn foarte rau, deloc spiritual, cum se crede, ci mai degraba clinic. Cand te paste sinuciderea e semn ca ratezi, ca esti blocat, ca te-ai bagat prea tare in probleme. Un om normal are capacitatea de a se retrage din seriozitatea lucrurilor, de a recurge la placeri mici si imediate pentru a-si reveni (si chiar la divertisment futil). Avem nevoie sa ne distram ca sa putem merge inainte. La un moment dat, trebuie sa stii sa-ti bagi picioarele. Tocmai de aceea, nu prea imi plac sinucigasii, chiar daca -vai!- ii inteleg atat de bine! De pilda, Mateiu Caragiale e melancolic, Blecher e genul sinucigas. Sunt pagini in Kafka in care vorbeste acea singuratate crunta a sinucigasului. Si la Virginia Wolf se simte asta si in filmul dupa cartea pe care ai citit-o tu. Mie imi plac depresivii melancolici sau violenti.

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