Though I am usually a slower reader, I quickly flew through this book in less than a week. The pace of Billy's journey through life kept me glued to my tiny iPhone screen whenever I had the chance.
I would say that there are a lot of funny moments. I did not expect this book to be as funny as it was, but I noticed that I laughed aloud quite a few times, often stopping to give my wife an explanation for my outburst. Though I would usually fail with my explanation and end up just wanting to say, "You'll just have to read it yourself".
Billy goes through quite a bit. I would say that Frank Schaeffer does a great job of giving the reader a relatable character, even though there isn't always a lot to relate to, if that makes sense. To me, is is just very, very familiar.
In fact, I think that there is a little bit of Billy in everyone, and I saw myself more than a few times in this book. As time went on, and as Billy's made up structures of his relationship with God began to crumble, I started to see a real, genuine attempt at making a connection. Billy was mad at God, especially at the times when he wasn't sure if he was even there. He struggled to build up a new system that would make him feel secure, which didn't work either. Challenged by numerous obstacles, Billy's faith churned and boiled over again and again. He became unsettled and it really bothered him. The voices in his head didn't make sense anymore.
In the film production (which itself was full of hilarious characters I hope to see on film some day), Billy continued to struggle with survival. Determined to succeed, Billy pressed forward and was eventually freed from his "Calling" by the whole situation with Vandermeer and the Monk.
I must say that I loved the Vandermeer character. Very interesting, intense, and rich character. Wow!
Billy found healing in the monastery. His character grew throughout the book, and the monks helped give him peace in his new self. His trials exposed his seemingly solid rock faith for what it really was; something like a habit of religion. The monks spoke into his life through stories, and telling Billy of the traditions of their way. It's refreshing to read through this time of healing for Billy. Through his time there, Billy became a real person.
Anyways, not much of a reviewer, but I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the humour of intense fundamental evangelicalism. At times, it really needs to be laughed at. I laughed a lot in this book.
I also teared up at one point, from the story of the two boys bullying the other boy in school. The Headmaster of the school is such a great model of love. Very touching.
A great read. Read it and tell me what you think.