Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Imaginary Jesus

It started as an ordinary day. Matt was hanging out with his bed bud Jesus at his favorite hip, vegan, communist café in downtown Portland. Everything is business as usual until a fat trucker comes in, calls Jesus an impostor, and punches him in the mouth. The trucker then claims to be the apostle Peter, and reveals that for years Matt has been worshiping an Imaginary Jesus of his own devising. Peter enlists the aid of a talking donkey named Daisy and an ex-hooker named Sandy to help Matt hunt down his Imaginary Jesus and find the real Jesus in an adventure that takes them through ancient Israel, Portland and Vancouver, and Matt’s comic-book-influenced psyche.

Soon the motley group is on the run for their lives from a whole army of imaginary Jesuses, who are not too happy about Matt’s quest to find the real Jesus, having happily settled themselves into the lives of Christians and churches all over the world. Along the way, our heroes encounter many imaginary Jesuses including Legalist Jesus, Hippie Jesus, Televangelist Jesus, Political Jesus, Testosterone Jesus, Emergent Jesus, Superhero Jesus, Businessman Jesus, Mormon Jesus and many more.

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos is a fun and witty satire along the lines of Nate Wilson’s “Right Behind” books. Although the point is sometimes belabored and the writing is sometimes a bit heavy-handed, the message is an important one: we often want to imagine Jesus in our own image because the real Jesus is just too dangerous and unpredictable. I was getting some Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy vibes as well here. Imagine if Douglas Adams had been an orthodox Christian, and you might get a picture of what this book is like.

4/5 stars


Mom said…
You know what this means? You have to let your mother borrow this book!!!!!!!!!!!!
Erica said…
I want to read this so much.
Matt Mikalatos said…

Thanks for your kind review and apparently you've already created two new readers for me out there! Thanks, too, for the Douglas Adams reference... even a whiff is a compliment in my book!

If you run across my second book, Night of the Living Dead Christian, I'd be interested in your opinion!

Thanks again!

Rick said…

I'll add your new book to my reading list! Have you read the book "Right Behind" by Nathan Wilson or "The Mantra of Jabez" by Doug Jones? Your book reminded me a lot of those, pointed Christian satire a la Jonathan Swift; though I thought yours was more fleshed out as a full story than those I just mentioned. I suspect that a person with your sense of humor would enjoy them.

For the record, I think my favorite Imaginary Jesuses were King James Jesus and Magic 8-ball Jesus.