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Only Begotten Daughter

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,262 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Morrow explores the difficulties facing God's twentieth-century offspring, complete with virgin birth. Julie Katz is a New Jersey girl--the miracle child of a celibate Jewish recluse whose sperm sample, donated to an Atlantic City baby bank, spontaneously gestates.
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published February 1st 1990 by William Morrow & Company (first published 1990)
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Aug 11, 2008 Katie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Idiots like me who have to finish what they start.
Christ, this was a terrible book. No pun intended.

My roommate read this for a religion class and suggested it to me. It would have been better if she slipped a puff-adder into my shoe and saved me two weeks of hell.

The dialogue might just be the worst of any book I’ve read. Nobody talks like this. This is the author’s guess of what snarky, clever people might sound like if he I fact knew any snarky, clever people. The characters are stereotypes, from the Yiddish-spouting, neurotic Jew to the u
** This book requires a very open mind, the ability to suspend judgment, and a deeply ingrained sense of humor. **

To supplement his income, Murray Katz made regular contributions to a sperm bank. To Murray's surprise and to the surprise of the scientists at the Institute, one of his contributions was spontaneously fertilized and is being grown in an ectogenesis machine-- a female fetus. Though he had never contemplated fatherhood before, Murray is unable to leave his potential progeny behind and
I received this book as a gift from my boyfriend's parents, who read it for a literary program through their Unitarian Universalist Church. The premise of the novel: What if a modern Messiah was born? What if a celibate man brought forth a daughter of God through a combination of miracle and modern science? And what if everything you've ever been taught about God, the Devil, Heaven, and Hell are wrong?

The concept driving the novel is a good one, I think, and I enjoyed a lot of the plotting. My f
I loved this book. LOVED. IT. Then again, I’m one of those people who enjoys this sort of dark humor and a good poke at all things sacred. I can see how a vast swath of the population would find this book absolutely offensive, so be warned about that. Julie’s coming-of-age as the daughter of God is touching, frustrating, and funny. Her journey to hell is enlightening, and deliciously thought-provoking. The ending felt perfect for the book as a whole. Perhaps, however, the best thing I can say ab ...more
Act 1- In which we meet a bunch of personality quirks masquerading as characters. And some basic background is laid down.

A strange loner in a lighthouse learns one of his sperm bank donations has self-fertilized, a new immaculate conception, this time in a test tube. Meet Julie Katz, daughter of God, but unsure of her purpose. Dad plays the worried Jewish man and fears her divinity will make her a target. Best friend Phoebe thinks she should be out saving the world, rebellious teen with a big he
What if another god-given child entered our lives in the modern era? What if she wasn't the son returned, but a daughter born to a celibate Jew? Well, that's basically the premise of James K. Morrow's Only Begotten Daughter .

This is obviously an interesting idea. I felt Morrow did an excellent job exploring the difficulties inherent in being a deity in our age. The world is smaller than it was and how do you balance responsibility to people and having your own life/not letting the world become
This was such a clever book. It raises the idea of what if there were a "daughter of God". This book is a very sarcastic fable/story that delves into what would happen if God had a daughter in modern times.

I read this in college and had the chance to actually meet the author. The only question he wouldn't answer was "what was his religion." He wanted to keep that to himself.
This is not an "I have an afternoon to kill" kind of book. The commentary on religion, human nature and church history is enough to keep you busy for days, reading and re-reading passages, and having discussions about what the author means, and whether his ideas are very pious or very blasphemous. If you pick this up, you will get the most enjoyment out of it if you have a friend or loved one also reading it, so that you can have conversations and compare notes. It's THAT kind of book. However, ...more
The characters are one-dimensional, by which I mean that Molly, the robotic hand, is just as interesting as anyone else in the book. Moreover, the first third of the plot drags, and the rest of the book barely holds together. There are bright moments when Julie, the begotten daughter, escapes her earthly life and a little later during her return, but they aren't enough to elevate the characters.

Maybe my recent reading Camus' The Rebel is biasing my impression, but one of Morrow's theses appears
A miracle causes the egg less sperm of a sperm donor to sprout into a fetus. Murray Katz his medical oddity and the machine it is in and thus incubates the daughter of God and the half sister to Christ. Good and evil battle in a New Jersey gone Christian fundamentalism meets the thunderdome. The devil seems to hold all the cards and all the souls until the conclusion in which balance seems to be restored. Very good read- the end wasn’t as strong as the rest, but I enjoyed this immensely. A close ...more
Apr 10, 2007 megan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conspiracy Theorists/Sci Fi & Fantasy Geeks
I would never have picked this book up had it not been given to me--but I was thankful it was. It had a very intriguing premise--a male celibate lighthouse keeper brings about the second coming of Christ in the form of a daughter. I can't remember all the details about it--but I do remember you did not have to have a strong understanding of the bible to "get" the book--most of the items that needed to be explained in order to understand the plot were--but, of course, a founding in some of the ge ...more
This book is so genius I don't even know where to start......

Iconoclastic and yet light-hearted, Morrow turns Christianity on its side and offers a fun alternative to what is generally accepted as the "second coming."

A Jewish man makes a donation at a sperm bank and finds out later that (somehow) there's an embryo in it. After saving the specimen--with its immaculately conceived contents--from destruction, he proceeds to raise this child, Jesus' half-sister.

I highly recommend reading this novel
Christopher Roberts
I found it difficult to know how to rate this novel. Like the first novel by Morrow that I read, "Towing Jehovah", it starts off extremely strong and then doesn't quite live up to its premise. In the case of Towing Jehovah, Morrow starts out with a mind-blowing premise but settles for a rather conventional use of storytelling once you get to the end. This novel is the opposite. Morrow once again has a great premise but starts off telling it rather straight. Then about halfway through the book t ...more
José Vivas M.
No recordaba por qué había abandonado la lectura de esta novela la primera vez, hace mil años, siendo tan provocativa la premisa que la sustenta: en tiempos modernos, de un padre soltero (¿virgen?) nace en Nueva Jersey la "hija única" de Dios. La media hermana de Jesucristo, nada menos. Todo desde ahí es una especie de reflejo en género invertido de la vida de Jesús y del hecho religioso: hasta Dios es mujer (si es que existe; la duda carcome a Julie Katz desde su infancia, pues su Madre no se m ...more
Jim Razinha
I had a rare case of reader's block and this was the book that broke it. I've tried to read it a few times in the past after reading Towing Jehovah, but never got past the first part. Delightfully irreverent, comical, and sadly tragic in human commentary, Morrow weaves an interesting twist to a common tale. And he also writes one of the best lines I've ever read, a quote I've used for 20 years:
“Science does have all the answers,” said Howard, withdrawing. “The problem is that we don’t have all
May 19, 2014 Bobbssw rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone!
probably the best of Morrow's Novels. Cannot recommend it enough!
this has got to be the worst book i have ever read. i should start reading what a book is about before i just buy it/read it. whatever.

the premise, jesus reincarnate in 21st century through means of artificial insemination. the new 'immaculate conception.' i read a book like this before, it was called the genesis code, it was better than this book. but still horrible in its own right.

the problem with this book is that it is a bit too spectacular for the things that actually happen. it started wh
Review initially published on my blog, Writing by Numbers, here.

I needed something to read on the plane, but I’m squeamish about buying books before I know I’ll love them forever. Then, like a bolt from the blue, I found a bookstore with a $1 shelf, and this standing out like a weird little beacon.

The blurb on the back describes Only Begotten Daughter as what happens when a lonely lighthouse-dwelling sperm donor finds that, without an egg, his “donation” is developing into a baby. This immacula
Aug 07, 2008 Jeanette rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanette by: Nikki :-)
So I borrowed this book from Nikki, and have to admit, I was a little skeptical. It took me a while to get into it. The books is split into three parts and the first part did nothing for me, but I made myself hang in there- and thank goodness i did! The second and third parts were so worth the wait. I dont know how to describe the story without giving everyhting away, but pretty much its about a mand who donates his sperm and it produces a baby- without an egg or a mother. From this "miracle" co ...more
2 weeks of my life I'll never get back. Morrow writes well, but this guy reeeeeeally has a bug up his keister against people of faith.

The concept of a daughter born with the messiah spark is not offensive; rather, the grotesque caricature of the religious broadcasting giant is hacked out as a sad, one dimensional joke, worse than any Ayn Rand antagonist or Steinbeck-ian Pentecostal (in Grapes of Wrath).

Insulting, horrific, with a revolting ending that goes far beyond the pale of anything one wo
You ever come across one of those books that you can tell it's a good book but you just can't get into it? This was that book for me. It's about Christ's much younger sister, Julie. It's well-written, clever and amusing, but I don't know enough about Christianity to understand many of the references. I liked the humour when I got it, but I suspect there was a lot that went over my head. Nevertheless, I persevered, I soldiered through it, and I got to the end. Phew. This book wasn't for me, but I ...more
I read this and The Second Greatest Story Ever Told in the same year. Morrow's book has depth and meaning and suffering, whereas the Bechard book is funny and snarky.
Michelle Morrell
Not at all what I expected, this is a gem of a book. Julie Katz is the daughter of God and as hard as she tries to live a normal life, world-changing events follow in her path. Raised by a jewish scholar and a lesbian with a baby of her own, her vision of family is refreshingly modern, as is her belief in the divinity of science. Her message to the world that science does have all the answers, we just don't have all the science and her well established lack of perfection lead Julie and her peopl ...more
Books that have really great thoughts mixed in with really strange ideas are difficult for me. This book would have had more impact for me without describing Mr Wyvern and his associates so much.
Ah a semi-comedic swipe at organized religion in the form of a coming of age story about god's daughter who is as confused as one would expect but never gets over it. Entertaining enough to read, but not what I'd expected from an award winning author. None of the characters are particularly intriguing or real and the ideas are certainly not new, even if reconstituted in a creative environment. It might hold more interest and novelty for someone not quite as jaded towards organized religion and i ...more
A lot of interesting ideas. The second immaculate conception occurs when a fertilized egg is discovered in a lonely Jewish man's sperm donation. The egg is placed in an experimental artificial womb, from which eventually is born Julie Katz, Jesus's half-sister. This book amused me more in college, now it's so far from where I am theologically it doesn't seem to hold together under its own weight. But I still get some sinister amusement at the idea of Jesus in hell, giving water to the sufferers, ...more
Patrick Elsey
Someone trying to justify their knowledge of science with religious beliefs in fiction form. It may have worked for Newton but it doesn't work now.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
This is a new story of God... God who sends his only begotten daughter to earth.. the daughter of a male jewish lighthouse keeper and a fertility clinic.
It will change your thoughts into a more endearing portrait of God

As someone on Amazon said:
" Religious fanatics and Devout Believers in Scientism both show up in bad form in this book. If you're an existentialist with a dark sense of humor, you'll love reading this. If you're a devout, evangelical Christian, I suspect you won't have as much fu
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Born in 1947, James Morrow has been writing fiction ever since he, as a seven-year-old living in the Philadelphia suburbs, dictated “The Story of the Dog Family” to his mother, who dutifully typed it up and bound the pages with yarn. This three-page, six-chapter fantasy is still in the author’s private archives. Upon reaching adulthood, Jim produced nine novels of speculative fiction, including th ...more
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