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Jujitsu for Christ

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
An unforgettable and hilarious coming-of-age story of a Black Belt in the Bible Belt. Roger Wing is pledging his martial skills to the service of the Lord, but it isn't helping him win over the prettiest girl in the Youth for Christ Mission.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 2nd 1988 by Penguin Books (first published 1986)
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Kirk Smith
Nov 23, 2015 Kirk Smith rated it it was ok
This book wants to be 'Wolf Whistle' by Lewis Nordan or something great written by Barry Hannah. It unfortunately falls short of that with a frenetic and unhinged style. Mildly humorous and occasionally philosophical it has its moments. The back cover best describes it: "Roger Wing, an adolescent martial arts expert, has pledged his talent to the service of Jesus Christ. Setting up shop in an abandoned laundromat on the wrong side of town (Jackson, Mississippi),Roger spreads the Word to a few s ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Brannon rated it it was amazing
Jack Butler’s Jujitsu for Christ (1986) isn’t underrated in the sense that the people who read it don’t get it; rather, it’s that not enough people are reading it in the first place. This is because the novel was for a long time criminally out of print -- but only until last year, when the University Press of Mississippi released a new edition (to which I contributed a critical afterword, full disclosure). It would be irresponsible to speculate that it had been kept from the public eye by a shad ...more
Alex V.
Sep 11, 2012 Alex V. rated it it was amazing
I was still formulating my thoughts about this unique, undersung loner among Novels 'Bout the South, just as the structure itself appeared to be consciously unravelling at the close of Jujitsu for Christ. It speaks nakedly about racist horror and the choking bear hug of faith as well as any great southern novel. The specter of civilization on the collapse hangs in the air, but plenty of writers can do this.

The different thing that Jack Butler executes here is a move like jujitsu instructor Roge
Feb 28, 2011 Stven rated it really liked it
Describing events around 25 years before it was published in 1986, read by me 25 years later in 2011, Jujitsu for Christ is an incredible book that treads some terrifically dangerous ground. As I was reading the first few chapters and realizing what a wonderful, insightful, jaundiced, and wry piece of writing this is, I had to wonder why I had never heard of it before. The author knows like the back of his hand the way the relationship between church and believer works in the South and the cant ...more
James Bandy
Sep 12, 2007 James Bandy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sea, Peggy
I love this book. It may be a perfect little novel. Finishing this, you wonder why other novels need to be so long. The writing, the language of the characters, makes you want to read it aloud to someone, as well as laugh out loud. It will make you horny. It will make you cry.
Apr 07, 2008 Cardee rated it it was amazing
It was nice to read a southern novel so dialect-heavy and see the author pull it off, make it beautiful, and manage to break my heart too. Both elegant and ugly in the truths it reveals. A book I will read again in a few years.
Nov 03, 2011 trav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this book on a recommendation from the Deep South group. And boy am I glad I picked this book up.

Weighing in at just over 200 pages it's not a daunting read at all. And the characters and place descriptions grab you from the get go, or gitgo as Jack Butler may have penned it.

The story takes place in Missippi back in the race-focused 1960's. It centers around a young white man doing his own thing in a colored part of town. His thing happens to Jujitsu and he starts a club that uses Jujitsu
Alec Clayton
Mar 12, 2013 Alec Clayton rated it it was amazing
I’m overjoyed that Banner Books has released a new edition of Jack Butler’s “Jujitsu for Christ.” This is a modern classic that, while successful when first published in1986, never gained the widespread popularity and critical acclaim it deserved. It should forever be on shelves next to “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Faulkner’s “Sanctuary” and other classics of Southern literature. No other author has succeeded in picturing the Deep South of the 1960s with such truth, understanding, compassion and ...more
Jun 12, 2009 AGamble rated it it was amazing
Recommended to AGamble by: Larry Brown
Shelves: agents-of-change
In Larry Brown's work On Fire, he mentions a few of his favorite books, and this made the list, with good reason. Perfect, from humble beginning to breath-taking end. It takes a couple of hours to read, and has yet to digest, so I can't really say how long it stays with you, though it seems right now that it'll be here, knocking around inside of me, forever.
Geoff Balme
Sep 07, 2015 Geoff Balme rated it really liked it
Friends of mine gave me this book as a joke, since I'm both a Jiu-jitsu instructor and not a religious guy. Seeing the crucified gi on the cover and the wacky blurb about hootenannies and lynch mobs they thought they had a great goofy joke.

Turns out though, Butler is a *terrific* writer. And he hooked me with this story immediately, right from the start the martial arts instructor getting into trouble and having to shake down a kid for gas money really hit home!

About 2/3rds of this book are a
Jennifer Abdo
Sep 23, 2015 Jennifer Abdo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting a hokey club where Christians meet and do jiujitsu, maybe the story of one of the members, high school "drama" ensues. The gi on the cover done in a cross, I didn't know how to take.

What I ended up with was a great story about race in Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s. Great in that Butler writes about our personal lack of control of life and hopelessness of the situation then. I don't think you'll predict the ending, which is a plus. There really isn't jiujitsu as I know it, but
Tom Leland
About a seventh of this book I couldn't follow…stream of consciousness akin to hallucinations. By the end didn't even fully understand why Roger took Marcus away. Maybe I was just lulled into apathy by then. But there are flashes of brilliance, of profundity. Just couldn't come to care much about any of the characters.
It's deeply Southern, and as far as I know an accurate portrayal of African-American life in a 1960s Mississippi town.
Nov 20, 2008 Zack rated it it was ok
This book is about a white kid named Roger Wing in civil rights era Mississippi who becomes interested in jujitsu and opens his own studio in the black part of town, simultaneously joining a Christian Youth Fellowship because he's attracted to a girl named Patsy Wingo, who becomes his occasional lover. The author doesn't mention the similarity in their last names, nor the similarity between Roger's first name and the name of Patsy's eventual boyfriend Roger "Tut" Tutweiler, but you can't miss it ...more
Dec 04, 2009 tyler rated it really liked it
That's why titties have gotten so big, is too many people don't get to see nipples in their formative years. No nipples, our subconscious says, well ok. I'll go for cleavage then. You won't give me the dots I want to see, I'll set up a feedback in the social structure, and select for big titties.

As soon as the human race invents antigravity, we'll grow titties as big as mountains. As big as planets. This little itty bitty woman will be stuck on them somewhere, way at the back, neglected, a curio
Jan 26, 2009 Deb rated it liked it
This is a very likable book on the order of Crazy in Alabama but without the charm. Hapless Roger Wing becomes a Christian when he is invited by a good looking girl to a high school bible study club. Post graduation, he witnesses by opening a karate studio in Jesus' name. This is in an extremely poor area of a city in Mississippi in the mid 60's. His friendship with a black family and the resulting conflicts are the bulk of the story.
Mar 01, 2014 Jas rated it it was amazing
You have to read this.
Aug 26, 2013 Alisha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in Southern Lit
Rating: 4.5 stars

I discovered this book years ago while I was still in college. I used it for a paper I wrote in a Southern Lit class. I remember thinking it was darkly funny, while sheding light on the disparities between races in the Deep South. If you can find a copy, I would highly encourage you to give this book a chance.
Ben Lee
Jun 13, 2008 Ben Lee rated it it was amazing
Barry Hannah has a blurb on the back that says "quite possibly the best book ever," or something to that effect, so I picked it up because I love Barry Hannah. This book is AMAZING. Mind like water. AMAZING.
Feb 02, 2010 julia rated it liked it
This is actually more like a 3.5 star book. The last half of the book was great but the first half was pretty tedious and didn't flow well at all. However the latter section definitely makes it worth the read.
Jan 24, 2013 Guybrarian rated it liked it
I enjoyed it. I will admit that it appealed to me a lot because I am from the deep south. A lot of the places , events and characters were very familiar to me.
Aug 02, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing
Full of beauty and sadness. Rivals some of Hannah's stuff. Everyone from Mississippi should read this.
Jim Gardner
Aug 16, 2011 Jim Gardner rated it really liked it
I read this in the mid-80s and little did I know it'd be a great, enduring influence on me.
Sep 18, 2009 Jenna marked it as to-read
Shelves: southern
"there is something to delight or horrify on every page" - brannon costello
Stephanie Faucette
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Jul 17, 2016
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May 31, 2016
Rebecca Simpson
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May 25, 2016
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painful 3 7 Jul 12, 2014 10:14AM  
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Jack Armand Butler Jr. is a poet and novelist known for structurally experimental writing, usually dealing with the development of a religious self-awareness transcending orthodox views. His work is often sexually charged and humorous.

Jack Butler was born May 8, 1944, in Alligator, Mississippi, to Jack Butler, a Baptist preacher, and Dorothy Butler, a homemaker. He
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“That's the trouble with innocents. They aren't innocent of doing, just of knowing what they're doing.” 2 likes
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