A parody of book reviews; a non-serious review of the Good Book
My Review of the Bible
By Cenellce Stodgix
In all my years of reviewing, the Bible is one of the strangest books that I’ve ever read. When I first received this assignment from my editor, I drove to the local bookstore to buy a copy of it. After about ten minutes of searching, I found it. It was entirely black, except for the words “The Bible” printed on the front. There was no author, cover picture or quotes from reviews on it. I found this to be very strange (my exact words were “Holy crap!”). Nevertheless, I dove into it.
The Bible is, above everything else, a very large book. It is not a novel; instead, it is an anthology, composed of over sixty different pieces of work, ranging from books to short stories to letters to collections of poetry. The works are written by over forty authors, all whom used only their first name (so I have no idea how they would receive royalty cheques).
The plot of the Bible is anything but simple. There is, unfortunately, no back cover to give the reader a quick synopsis. Put as basically as I can, the Bible takes place a very long time ago, in a world that is very similar to ours, as the countries in this world have the same name as the countries in our world. It is divided into two parts, called the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it centres on a character named God. In the first book, Genesis, God creates the earth and gives life (twice, oddly) to all the creatures and humans. However, the humans disobey God by eating fruit that God told them not to eat. So the humans go out on their own, with God still watching over them as they have children and wander around fighting their enemies. After a few hundred pages of this, in the New Testament, God decides to have a son named Jesus. Jesus tells people all about God, but the people don’t like this, so they kill Jesus. However, Jesus comes back to life and then goes up to Heaven, where God lives. After that, people write letters about Jesus to other people.
The biggest problem this book experiences are the gigantic plots holes. The first dozen stories are told in semi-chronological order (though many chapters are repeated in different stories), telling of how God leads the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into a promised land, where they live, and constantly fight their enemies. This makes sense. Unfortunately, the stories then become completely random and out of place. There are over a hundred chapters of poetry about God in the piece called “Psalms”, which completely halt the plot line of the book. Following that are “Proverbs”, which is a hybrid of Dear Abby and Shakespeare. Two more quasi-poetic stories follow, one of them talking about the meaning of life, the other talking about a woman’s body in eyebrow-raising terms. At that point, the Bible is quickly sinking. Very little is done to help it, as the next dozen stories are about various people that God puts in interesting situations, with very little insight given as to who these people are or when these stories are occurring, throwing any ideas of chronology out the window. It’s almost like these authors wanted to crucify the book. I wanted to grab a marker and cross out most of the pages.
However, the New Testament contains a saving grace that makes the Bible a bit more bearable. In telling the life of Jesus, four stories from four different perspectives are used, without any contradictions. I was truly impressed by this. As well, there is a great story entitled “Acts”, which is a thrilling work involving betrayal, teamwork, death, escaping prison and rivalries. It was the only story that I was truly hooked to; I was unable to put it down until I finished it. Unfortunately, once I HAD finished it I was left with a bunch of letters written from various authors to various people, all of them talking about Jesus. Yet again, the Bible stalled, but this time it never recovered. The book ends with a letter called “Revelation”, which is quite brilliantly written, but its placement just doesn’t make sense, as it involves huge battles between angels and demons, while the letters before it involve helping others and freeing slaves. Reading it after reading such dry material was like seeing Lake Huron in the middle of the Sahara Desert; it is great to have it there, but it has been put in the wrong place.
Another huge issue I had with this book was the character development. While characters like Moses, David and Isaiah are developed well, the reader does not learn a lot about God. God will say and do things that give a bit of insight as to who he is, but there is no development of his character. Considering he is the main character, I found this really strange. As well, there are just too many minor characters that are hard to remember, and no development is done on their behalf.
Even in Jesus’ case, we learn of his birth and then there is a thirty year gap before we meet him again as an adult. We have no idea what happened to him before this time, and none of the four authors who write about him gives any care to telling us.
Finally, there was the issue of vagueness. An example of this is found in any of the dozens of battles in the Bible. Every single one of them is told like this: “So (good guys) went and fought (bad guys) and the Lord gave them victory.” No details whatsoever. It’s blunt, and not really exciting. On the other hand, there are some books that have chapters dedicated to describing a single place or person, which I quickly deemed as unnecessary (in fact, I fell asleep while reading Exodus, in which the Ark of Covenant is described over the course of four pages and about six chapters). It seems to me that the authors just didn’t know where they should and shouldn’t have been specific.
How could this book have improved? First, cut out half of the stories. Keep the big ones that actually develop some characters and tell of big battles, but get rid of the ones that involve poems, long speeches by God that reveal very little about him, and minor characters who have an adventure and are never heard from again. As well, remove most of the letters (keeping one or two is acceptable, as it adds variety) and have more insight into Jesus as a child.
Overall, the authors have obviously worked very hard on this, and it shows. The sheer number of pages will prove that they weren’t joking around when they wrote this. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to care about character development, plot lines or simply keeping the stories interesting. Put as concisely as possible, there is an honest effort being made. But the covers are just too far apart. 2.5/10