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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  149 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Ilona Coggswater, product of the MTV generation, and Daughter of God, reveals herself to be Our Savior in 1988. Her only commandment: "Be Kind". Her challenge: To save a world not eager to be saved. An enchanting, humorous, timely novel, in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins, about our culture of celebrity and spirituality on the brink of the Millennium.
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by Carol Publishing Corporation
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Apr 05, 2014 Jake added it
I am getting old.

And as I get older, I find male authors putting women in uncomfortable sexual situations and having their characters react like it's nothing appeals to me less and less.

So I really wanted to read this book because it's billed as good, underrated religious satire. It's been sitting on my shelf for the better part of five years and I figured now, in the days leading up to Holy Week, it was time to take it on.

As pretty much all of the western world knows, the Bible tells the story
Timothy Juhl
Jun 01, 2008 Timothy Juhl rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, if you can get your hands on a copy.
Perhaps one of the best satires on organized religion no one's ever read.

Written at the heighth of the Jim & Tammy Bakker phenomenon, the author skewers the church and its misplaced directives.

An easy read, witty and insightful at once with a central character in Ilona Cogswater (God's daughter who becomes a spokesperson for Tab Cola), this is one of those rare finds.

To this day, I still thank the co-worker who recommended this little-known title.
Caryn Rose
What if God decided that this time, he was going to send his Daughter to continue the family business? Except that she's born in Cooperstown, her first word is 'Seaver,' she worships Tab, the Replacements and Elvis Costello? THE SECOND GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is one of my all-time favorite books, and I'm thrilled that it's been revived from its sad out-of-print status. ebook is coming shortly, or so I am told.
This book was a gift years ago from my good friend, Leah, and I still enjoy the hell out of it. It's a story about the Allmighty's daughter, who came to Earth to get across the message "Be Kind" to people. It's funny, makes you really think long and hard, and feel good about humans and the divine. Can't recommend it enough!
Underrated satire about organized religion just about sums it up. Second Greatest Story follows Ilona - Jesus' sister and Daughter of God - as she attempts to tidy up the world. It's incredibly short, very funny, and spot on in its accusations against organized religion. My favorite aspect is probably the flash forward and back nature, while portraying Ilona as a pop culture phenomenon - its similar to Carrie, in that it references characters in the novel and their books written on Ilona, media ...more
Jeanne Burkhart
I loved this book. Another one Paulette turned me on to. Good humor and good message.
Penny Wermescher
One of my top 12 all-time favorite books.
C.J. Lines
"The Second Greatest Story Ever Told" may not actually live up to its name but it's pretty damn close. Anyone who enjoys the spiritual irreverence of Tom Robbins or Christopher Moore's "Lamb" is guaranteed a big kick out of this. As is anyone who just needs a bit of cheering up, to be honest.

It begins in the 1970s. Having already sent his Son (perhaps twice), God decides that humanity is still doing it wrong and sends his Daughter. She takes the human form of Ilona Ann Coggswater from Coopersto
Tracy Hassett
Found this book in the bargin bin in high school and bought it just because the premise was so intriguing...the title character, a girl, is God's daughter. It was surprisingly refreshing and clever, at least that is what I thought when I was 16 years old. Would re-read it to see if it is still has good as i thought by I gave it to a roommate (Amy) to read and never got it back...She is much more pious than I, so maybe she found it blasphemous and burned it? Kidding.
Becky Coburn
Amanda gave me this book when I was 17 and I adored it. As a feminist Catholic at the time, I couldn't get enough of this story about the daughter of God. John gave me this book as a gift when I was 25, and surprisingly as an agnostic it still spoke to me. I look forward to reading it again, in the next phase of my life.
I read this and James Morrow's Only Begotten Daughterand really enjoyed them both. This was more fun (the Pope is sternly spoken to), Morrow's more serious.

Personal copy
Mar 09, 2007 Jessie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: small minded people so it will make their minds expand
Shelves: faves
I'm not religious at all but this book was amazing. It points out the human alterior motives hidden in religion in a very hilarious way. The daughter of God is born on earth to give saving everyone a whirl in the 80's. She turns water into Tab, need I say more.
This was a quick and very fun read about Ilona, the Daughter of God. She loves Tab, wears all black, champions the environment, is a vegetarian, and has only one message to humanity: "Be Kind." If only...
SF_Reads (Mod)
I read this ages ago and remember loving loving loving it. Sadly I have lost the book jacket but I did just find the book in my bookshelf. I may reread it soon, so my 5 star rating is provisional.
The daughter of God sent to Earth to clear up a few things since we humans found all those pesky commandments too hard to understand? Brilliant. "Just be nice". Indeed.
Robert Pruchniewicz
I had hoped to enjoy this book more then I did. Although the author does touch upon some interesting ideas, his writing style was ultimately too simplistic.
How often do you literally laugh out loud when reading a book? You will with this one! Trust me - this is hysterical and a wonderful story.
This is a great book to empower young girls. It is a stretch if you a devout Christian, I guess, but I read it over and over and enjoy it.
This is such a delight to read--good humor and some underlying serious themes.

God sends another child, this time, God's daughter.
I read this book years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Very interesting read on what would happen.
Funny and engaging, but a little dated in some of the cultural references. Do they even make Tab anymore?
Clever reworking of the New Testament narrative with a decidedly more appealing protagonist.
Interesting book, parts of it were really funny. I thought the ending was a little predictable.
An 18 year old Replacements fan as the Messiah? Finally, a brand of religion I can get behind!
I enjoyed the concept, and especially liked the first third of the book.
Joey Brown
Jul 29, 2009 Joey Brown is currently reading it
re reading. Media and religion. God's daughter comes to earth inn the 80's.
samira fardkohan
Apr 15, 2007 samira fardkohan added it
Recommends it for: yes
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Erasmus marked it as to-read
Mar 14, 2015
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Gorman Bechard is the author of seven novels: THE SECOND GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, UNWOUND (under the pseudonym Jonathan Baine), NINTH SQUARE, THE HAZMAT DIARY, GOOD NEIGHBORS, BALLS and the upcoming NOT SO PRETTY.

He directed/wrote the indie features FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) (2009) and YOU ARE ALONE (2006), the horror comedy cult-classic PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1986), as well as the award winning shorts
More about Gorman Bechard...
Balls Ninth Square Good Neighbors The HazMat Diary The Hazmat Diary

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