Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Review: Year Of Living Biblically

Here's a book that really defies description. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs records the quest of the author to follow as literally as possible all the commandments and rules in both the Old and New Testament. I think I saw this on the overstock shelves at Barnes and Noble.

It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love in that both books were conceived as projects by their authors and then sold to publishers before the authors began eating, praying and loving or living Biblically. I think this makes the experiences they recount less authentic because the authors seem to force the experience to fit the proposal they gave their publishers.

I will say that I thought TYOLB was much less contrived than Eat, Pray, Love and more entertaining. The author is an agnostic Jew, who found himself sometimes surprised to make the connections with his ancestors in the rituals that he was following. A. J. Jacobs is witty and sincere in his analysis of how his feelings about God evolved as a result of his experiment.

But don't get excited: he didn't evolve much. He concludes the book by saying he is still an agnostic, but a "reverent" agnostic. He's not sure there is a God, but does believe there is such a thing as sacredness and he plans to continue observing the Sabbath, wearing more white clothes and saying prayers of thanksgiving (although he's not sure who he's thanking).

According to the author's website, the book will be made into a movie. It will be interesting to see if it becomes just a comedy and if the ending will be changed so that the protagonist becomes a believer.


Presbyterian Gal said...

Books like these offend my sense of scientific sensibility.

I find it exploits faith for entertainment value. The movie will only make him a Christian at the end if the marketing and PR hacks tell the studio it will sell more tickets.

Songbird said...

Well, I think the goal would be to make him a Jew, right?
Watch and see who they cast. If it's Steve Carell, expect teh funny.

Anonymous said...

i too was picturing Steve as the lead...