Sunday, February 21, 2010


On on a not-so-special day in a not-so-special small town Jason Bock makes up a religion.  While in a teen church organization meeting Jason claims to worship the Ten-Legged God, mostly to tick off the youth group leader.  But it doesn't end there.  Jason figures that if others can make up a God without any proof, so can he.  So he decides to worship the town water tower.  After all, water gives life, water is found everywhere, the water tower is the tallest structure in many towns.  Jason even manages to recruit a few members who become Chutengodians to worship the tower with him.  But soon what starts off as a harmless joke gets out of hand.

Despite the absurd premise of a boy starting a religion around a water tower, this book is actually very believable.  When it comes down to it it's a book about a teenage boy questioning his religion and the very concept of belief.  The difference he makes between belief in a god and belief in religion is interesting.  It's also interesting to read about how his friends react, especially his obsessive friend Shin who actually seems to start taking the religion seriously.  The details are also great.  At the beginning of each chapter is an excerpt of the Chutengodian holy book.  It's far-fetched, sure, but not so far-fetched I couldn't see someone actually believing it.  The narration was also done well and I enjoyed watching Jason as he puzzled through these difficult issues and dissected the arguments of his father and others.  As Jason puts it: "Being Catholic is hard.  Being ex-Catholic is even harder." 

Godless, by Pete Hautman.  ISBN: 0-689-86278-4

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