Allison's Reviews > Between the Bridge and the River

Between the Bridge and the River by Craig Ferguson
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Jun 01, 11

bookshelves: leisure, favorites, classic-to-be, profound-statements-about-the-human
Recommended to Allison by: The library shelf.
Recommended for: the curious? Potential philosophy majors? Dunno.
Read from May 29 to June 01, 2011, read count: 2

** spoiler alert ** Christ, but how do you talk about a book that is essentially about religion?

Well: it is and it isn't. It's about celebrity, to be sure, as well as the nature of the beasts of network television and fame. It's about sex and how it affects the human condition, for better (fiscal gain, physical compatibility, the accepting of oneself and one's sexual foibles) or for worse (fiscal gain, abuse, the humiliation of others, the generalized banner of "fucked up shit"). But it's also about how said celebrity and sexuality can morph the fabric of spirituality and belief. It would be wrong to say religion; although Ferguson does operate much of his tale under the banner of what one would presume to be his background as a Christian and, to a very strong degree, his Scotch childhood, the themes behind Between the Bridge and the River are very much spiritual. One of his main characters is regularly visited by Carl Jung. "Hell," which is actually defined as the psyche of the individual in question, morphs based on the individual within. Science is reconciled with miracles. The nastiness of Hollywood religions -- thinly veiled references to Scientology and Christian evangelical networks -- are staunchly critiqued.

It seems strange, perhaps, to say that a book on such heavy topics also happens to be hilarious, but the author is Craig Ferguson, which means that I'll let you gather things from there. Besides: to say there isn't humor in spirituality and sexuality is closely akin to saying that there isn't much humor in life itself, which is patently false given that spirituality and sexuality make up a good portion of said life itself. It's a book about heavy things but it doesn't take itself too seriously, which I think a lot of people (myself included) could probably take into account. It's charming and swift and holds no punches when it comes to gritty and gross language (an attribute I found in Will Self's The Book of Dave, which makes me wonder if this is a trait common in the British [and I mean as such in the United Kingdom definition of British] or just in contemporary male writers). It's irreverent. Hell, it makes thinly-veiled references to one of the main characters being an allegory for Jesus Christ. Upon second reading, I would have to say that it isn't wholly perfect (and for those not of the post-modern bent, the hemming and hawing of discordant stories will probably fall flat and dull), but it's as close to a personal philosophy allegory as I've ever read -- and I say this five years after I read it the first time.

In closing, my favorite quote from this book -- the one that stays with me always and unerringly:

"SCIENCE: The laws of physics state that given the mass-to-wingspan ratio of a bumblebee, it is impossible for the creature to fly. But it does."

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Quotes Allison Liked

Craig Ferguson
“The Universe is very, very big.
It also loves a paradox. For example, it has some extremely strict rules.
Rule number one: Nothing lasts forever.
Not you or your family or your house or your planet or the sun. It is an absolute rule. Therefore when someone says that their love will never die, it means that their love is not real, for everything that is real dies.

Rule number two: Everything lasts forever.”
Craig Ferguson, Between the Bridge and the River

Reading Progress

05/28/2011 "Hell yeah re-reading favorite books!"
6.0% "First of all: WHAT IS WITH THE PERCENTAGE THING? Second of all: fighting urge to quote everything."
37.0% "Refuse to dodge quoting my second-favorite line, which is now a warm friend versus a brilliant revelation: "For example, George was made up of billions of atoms, some of which had, at various times, been part of, among other things, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a red felt hat, and some porridge. "In a staggering coincidence, Claudette had a few atoms of that same bowl of porridge in her system." Read for context, svp."
67.0% "The interesting/sad/awesome/tragic thing about re-reading books is that you find out that you forget all sorts of things, which leads me to believe that I need to purchase this book immediately so I can have a good re-read every few months."

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Casey (new)

Casey I totally want to marry Craig Ferguson. I am so serious. I want a CD recording of his voice. I had no idea he had written a book, OMG.

Allison Oh man, if you are to do so, let me just say that you will probably want to expedite your marriage proposal immediately. The back cover quote says something to the point of the fact that he's probably a writer moonlighting as a talk show host instead of vice versa and to be honest, I agree. This book is beautiful and gross and awesome.

message 3: by Casey (new)

Casey sounds like Trainspotting. Those Scots must know their stuff.

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