This novel is about your average parish priest, who is given a special assignment directly from the Pope.
Father Shmit suffers from Tourette's Syndrome. Naturally, it manifests itself at the most inconvenient times, except when he is conducting an exorcism. Some priests give wonderful and inspiring sermons week after week, and some priests are best at one-on-one contact. Father Shmit's talent is in exorcisms. His methods can charitably be called "unique," but no one can argue with his success rate.
He is called to the Vatican, and meets privately with Pope Benedict. Father Shmit is told that God is being held hostage by Satan, and that his special talents are needed (no, He is not chained to a chair in an abandoned warehouse). Father Shmit travels to the site along with a computer hacker friend (his plan involves God's e-mail address). Do they succeed? Is God freed from captivity?
As you may have guessed, this is a satire on Christianity. Those who take their religion seriously, and feel that Christianity should never be satirized, will probably skip this book. That is a very bad idea, because it also has some really good writing on the nature of God. Is He a cosmic puppeteer, controlling every bit of our lives, or is He more like a bowling alley reset machine, setting up the pins for humanity to knock down? It's normal to ask why a loving God would allow things like 9/11 or African famine to occur. Take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. For every Adolf Hitler, there is a Martin Luther King, Jr. For every Joseph Stalin, there is a Nelson Mandela. Overall, throughout history, things have gone pretty well for humanity. Atheists want their non-belief to be respected by society. Is there some reason why they can't return the favor, and respect those who do believe, especially around Christmas?
A really open mind will help when reading this book. Get past the satire, and the foul language, and this is a thought-provoking, and funny, story that will keep the reader interested.
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About the reviewer
Paul Lappen (plappen)
I am in my early 50s, single and live in Connecticut. I am a lifelong very, very avid reader and am a freelance book reviewer with my ownblog (http://www.deadtreesreview.blogspot.com). Please visit. It … more
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