Adam's Reviews > The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
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's review
May 31, 2010

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bookshelves: non-fiction-and-biography
Read from June 15 to 18, 2010

Suffice it to say that his quest is interesting but some of his personal convictions and discoveries disturb me, so his religious quest is simultaneously frustrating and fascinating. His writing style is interesting and easy to follow. His metaphors are endearing and then some.

His wife is INCREDIBLY tolerant of this whole endeavor, to the point where if I were in her shoes I would probably have told him to f-off, multiple times. She does make some complaints occasionally, but she's far too tolerant. Maybe my opinion will change when I get married, but I digress.

While they're at the hospital and his wife (Julie) is giving birth the following exchange occurs:

"Hold my hand," says Julie"
"Well, you're impure for a week after the birth, so I can only hold it before the birth."
"Please don't - "

I'm sorry but your marriage and family life is much more important than some experiment you're attempting. He goes about it like this whole endeavor will somehow make him a spiritual person, which is totally the wrong way to approach the situation. Rather than say "if I do this, I will become spiritual, or I am seeking to become spiritual", he should instead simply follow the rules, and see what happens. His push to actively become a spiritual person, or lead a more spiritual life as a result of his decision to do this experiment is the most frustrating factor of the entire book. If he had simply taken a different approach, it would have been a much more enjoyable read. To top it off, he dismisses much the Christian portion of the experiment because he is ethnically Jewish, which I think is ridiculous as he was never a practicing Jew to begin with.

I find the following quote particularly disturbing:

"I'd sacrifice some [of my son's:] individuality for the knowledge that my son will outlive me" - A.J. Jacobs

and yet:

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

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06/15/2010 page 65
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