Heather's Reviews > The Final Testament of the Holy Bible

The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: adult
Recommended for: anyone - but if you are dogmatically religious you will likely be offended
Read from April 04 to 11, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This was a beautiful story and a great-written book (unlike this sentence!). It should probably be 4 stars because I had a few critiques, but I just had a such a great feeling when I finished it that I bumped it up to 5. It was a great story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and it was fascinating and clever. James Frey is back!

It should be noted that I err on the agnostic/atheist side of religion so I found this to be great from a secular perspective and happened to agree w/pretty much all his points. I'm sure religious people may have felt a lot differently about this. However, if they did, I think they may be missing the whole point, because I think the way Ben was described is really how Jesus probably was, if he did exist!

1. This was the best use of multiple narrators ever. The book tells the story of Ben, and each narrator told their perspective, but it's arranged so that Ben's story moves along chronologically, and when you finish with one narrator, you move on to another and find out what happens to Ben next. I thought it was done really well.
2. Cleverness. I just loved the way the chapters and the book itself, and even the fonts, were arranged to appear biblical. And I'm not religious so I did not find this offensive, but rather very clever! I also enjoyed some of the clear parallels to the way the life of Jesus is described in the Bible and/or what people think now about Jesus, like his relationship w/Mariaangeles.
3. Content/message. I connected to this book similarly to how I felt about Million Little Pieces, which is that regardless of whether the facts of the book are true or not, I completely and totally resonate with his messages about love, connection with others, and what's really important in life. That's what I took from this book, too.

1. It was slightly heavy-handed at times. He clearly was making points about the trouble with religion and what life should really be about (see #3 above), and I loved the book because I tend to agree w/him, but there were at least a few moments when I was like, Okay, I get it, or when I thought he went a little over the top w/the criticism.
2. Framework/premise. If all of the books like the Bible etc. are not true, and religions are false or have gotten away from the core of what they should be, then why did the coming of Ben conform exactly to how the Bible said it would? I feel like he should have showed up in a way that did NOT conform to people's expectations so that it fit the overall point a bit better. Similarly, I think the description of Ben is probably very close to what Jesus actually was (if he did indeed exist) or how he's described. So why negate the whole New Testament (by saying that none of that stuff is true)? Again, just a bit of a miss in terms of continuity of message. Probably would have been better to acknowledge some of the helpful stuff in the real religious literature, or to say that it was originally helpful and then got distorted, rather than just say it was all about power and control and then ignore the fact that your character, which is supposed to be the opposite of that, is the exact same as theirs. (Yes, I just called Jesus a book character.)
3. Ending. I loved the actual ending itself, but the last chapter or two felt really rushed. At other points in the book, we got multiple perspectives on things and were able to really see things unfold. At the end, we heard from the lawyer but never went back to any of the characters who were actually involved in what the lawyer described to see how it had really played out. This may have been to highlight the fact that it doesn't really matter, but I felt like I was missing a little bit more of the story that could have been told. Same with the parts in the hospital. I would have liked to hear directly from one of the providers or something. The actual, final ending, though, was great, I thought.

This is the type of book that is likely to elicit strong reactions from people. I love that in and of itself!

I'm sticking with 5 stars!

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Reading Progress

04/05/2012 page 85
21.0% "I am really enjoying this so far! It's written really well and the story is compelling."
04/06/2012 page 169
42.0% "Still really liking it! It's a really good story so far."
04/11/2012 page 308
77.0% "Loving this book!"

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