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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  547 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Winner of the 2012 Christianity Today Best Fiction Award

Evangellyfish is a ruthless, grimly amused, and above all honest look at one of the darkest corners in the western world. Douglas Wilson, a pastor of more than thirty years, paints a vivid and painful picture of evangelical boomchurch leadership. . . in bed.

Chad Lester's kingdom is found in the Midwest. His voice craw
Paperback, 232 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Canon Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  547 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally, I was leery about reading a novel written by a theologian (i.e. what does Tolkein have to do with Bonhoeffer?) Can he really know what he's doing? Even half-way through the book I was unsure, but Pastor Wilson warmed my frosty heart, and by the end, I stayed up late in order to finish it.

Not only is the book hilarious, but it managed to be both convicting and refreshing all at the same time. When I started, I thought it was a book about other people, but then he reminded me that I'm
G.M. Burrow
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I braced myself when I started this book, hearing that it had made other people squirm. I was ready for something wry and shocking and unpleasant--like Tom Wolfe with all the twinkle taken out. I couldn't have been more surprised. Doug Wilson said in an interview that he wanted this book to come across to intelligent readers as "funny, dark, and redemptive," and it was all that, with extra helpings on both funny and redemptive. I have never read anything where I liked flawed characters so much a ...more
Josh Bauder
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
The career of a megachurch-pastor-turned-serial-adulterer implodes, and the buzzards assemble.

It could never happen.

Now, I'm a big Wilson fan. Wilson is to wordcraft what Microsoft is to Minecraft, by which I mean he's the best in the biz. But if there's a flaw in the book, it's that he has armed too many of his characters with the same craft; he puts in too many mouths his own quick-witted Wilsonian jocularity. Even the most innocent and tangential passersby to the plot are primed with puns and
Miles Smith
A great book that exposes the mess that is the culture of American Evangelicalism and also the grace that still shines through. The major weaknesses are that the world Wilson describes is definitely limited to his own geography and sociology. Its not particularly cosmopolitan nuanced. Its a world that is probably typical of the suburbia or exurbia in the West (and maybe the Midwest?), but it limits the otherwise interesting narrative Wilson weaves. The contrived Reformed-ish identity Wilson want ...more
Katy Schmitz
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-reviews
I bought and read this book because I love fiction. I love good doctrine and I love to see it lived out. I think fiction is often more true than nonfiction because with nonfiction the author is trying to tell the truth. The author is obligated to express his views as straightforward as possible. In fiction, the author simply is. So, by trying to tell the truth one's culture and blind spots are ignored and therefore glaring. In fiction those same blind spots are expressed because the art of the a ...more
Jesse Broussard
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As you wipe your feet before entering the house, here I shall open with a confession: when I was introduced to the writings of Douglas Wilson, I didn't like them. I have gone this far, allow me to go further: having all the literary discretion of a vacuum cleaner and taste located solely in my mouth, I owned, read, re-read and enjoyed books that shall not here be named, but were written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

Now that my ethos lies in a smouldering ruin, allow me to say that my appreci
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Let me begin by stating that I almost exclusively read textbooks in academic theology, so reading a novel is therefore something of a novelty for me. And the only reason that I did read this novel is because it is written by Doug Wilson, who in the last few years have become one of my absolute favourite writers (one of my favourite preachers too, by the way). So my statements about this book comes from someone who doesn't know much about novels.
But anyhow, the book is absolutely brilliant, and
Dan Glover
Moliere said "the duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them." Apparently, if quote sites are to be trusted, he went on to say, "as the purpose of comedy is to correct the vices of men, I see no reason why anyone should be exempt." Douglas Wilson seems to share this conviction, but unlike so many who prefer to point the finger and make a joke at someone else's expense, Wilson points the finger firmly at the evangelical church, of which he is a part.

Evangellyfish is a novel that has been de
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It captured my attention and was enjoyable in some ways, but in other ways the author took things a little too far and bordered on inappropriate. To be honest, there was way too much innuendo and I personally couldn't stomach it. The amount of controversy going on within the church seemed unrealistic. There were a lot of characters in the book and I don't think he wrapped up and connected all of their individual stories very well.
It seems that he managed to
Steve Hemmeke
Apr 20, 2012 rated it liked it
A fictional critique of the modern evangelical world, shot through with spiritual anemia, hypocrisy and adultery. A bit over the top in places, especially deep in cynicism, it still brings a smile every few pages. He does a good job showing how sexually charged the world is, and how self-deceived about this the church can be.

The book actually wound down right when I was expecting further development (first book read on a Kindle, and didn't check how far I was). This was a little dissatisfying on
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Pastoral snarls are like the mercies of God - they are new every morning."
Round 4. What stuck out to me on the fourth time reading it was how pervasive patient eschatology is in the book and how you can see it applied to individual lives, especially in the second part.
- - -
This baby should be required reading in every evangelical seminary. A good lesson on man's depravity and God's mercy, but not the kind that becomes systematic theology lecture. For the third time now, it proves a much needed
Luke Miller
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Much of what I enjoy in Wilson's theological works I found here in his fiction - fresh metaphors, gospel themes, and cultural/religious analysis. I heard him say once that he hoped this book would be "funny, dark, and redemptive". It sounded like a challenging goal, but I think he pulled it off. The brokenness of the characters is set as the backdrop for the glorious gospel of repentance and forgiveness, and you find yourself really wanting to see grace poured out on all them. After all, they al ...more
Kevin McCarthy
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Some of this is clever and enjoyably scathing, but for me, Wilson's "satire" is so indiscriminately distributed it's hard to actually distill what the commentary is supposed to be. When you mock everything, you don't really say anything. I also struggled with the strangeness of the novel's cheesy, sentimental bits. All that being said, I'm a fan of Wilson's wit--I think he is a very solid writer, and I was pretty engaged and interested throughout the novel.
Lindsay Kennedy
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-ebook, fiction
Wilson said he hoped this book would be "funny, dark and redemptive", I think he's completely succeeded on this! Wilson somehow manages to make a book with such disturbing content also funny. This in itself is a wonder, but Wilson doesn't just leave us with cynicism, irony and satire, he also weaves in very redemption without this being an "everyone gets saved at the end" kind of Christian story. I read this book over 3 days and couldn't put it down. Highly recommended
Sarah Wolfe
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Not sure what I was expecting, but this is pretty pointed. A novel with tongue very firmly planted in cheek... but the pen is still mightier than the sword.
Leandro Guimarães
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: andreia-watanabe
A history of grace that does not mince at the details of the fall — without ever being too graphic.
Paul Lawrence
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
a book written as satire, but many of the characters seem all to familiar and real. A good wake-up call for Christians.
Joel Zartman
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was with some reluctance I received the book. I think of Douglas Wilson as a bit of a blowhard, so I was surprised to find the book has wisdom. It is funny, hard to put down, not often lagging, and in the end comes out a good enough book. I wish I could write something as interesting. I am glad somebody pressed it upon me.

The book has an awful lot of sex, in the sense that it comes to light that it is an activity rather copiously and indiscriminately indulged. I do not mean that the activity
Jacob Rush
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The kind of book where you'll keep telling yourself, "Just one more chapter..." but end up devouring in its entirety. Hilarious. Insightful. Painful, exactly because the stereotypes have a little bit more than a ring of truth in them. Yet what I wasn't expecting was to have a character that was above the satire, who was totally genuine, in one way above the farce, even when embroiled in it, and good-humored throughout. This, of course, was John Mitchell, the only "hero" of the story, the Reforme ...more
amanda gardiner
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good with a few quirks I disliked

A very unique read with an ending I genuinely liked. Wilson is a truly funny down to earth guy. The last 10% of the book was great!!! Really great! Buuuuuuut there were waaaayyyyyy too many characters developed.....sooooooo many. Also the vocabulary was really hard. I needed to download A dictionary app to complete it although this is not necessarily a con, rather just a struggle for me personally. Overall a good read for me, but not for all.

TJ Ross
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
You know when you read a fiction book but it corresponds so much with reality you forget that it's supposed to be fiction? Wilson does just that with Evanjellyfish. The book is about two pastors, one of a small congregation barely getting by while the other is a mega-church pastor. the scandals and character development are very realistic, I think Wilson does draw from some real-life events to create this narrative.
Kyle French
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read several reviews, before I read the book, that all said it started with a bang, but ended with a certain... meh. Those reviews were terribly mistaken. Evangellyfish starts with a ribald ironic humor and ends with poignancy. It’s a satire with the soul of a romance. It’s good solid reading, and I teared up at the end. Correction: my heart pounded at the finale and My eyes teared at multiple turns of the denouement.
Emily Dixon
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

Not only is this book a chilling representation of modern church culture, it is accurate! Evanjellyfish is convicting, humorous, and just plain fun to read. I was sad when the book ended-- I felt like the story could have gone on and on.

I finished with an adrenaline rush, a stomach ache, and sore abs...

I guess that's what you sign up for when you binge read Doug Wils.
Secret Agent Gavin Ritsema
I finally read some of Dougy's work. It hurt me reading about what can happen when people run churches only for that straight cash. Decent read overall with some funny lines. Flags out Front is next on the list.
Aurora Grace
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dominionism
One of Wilson's best books, because it is about abuses in the church. He'll be pleased that it definitely comes off as Wodehouse in tone, and his woefully misplaced wit so ill-suited to his other work is often funny here.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think this may be the first book I've read that made me want to laugh, cry, and say "ouch" all at the same time...
Bryan Bridges
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Quick and hilarious.
Thiago McHertt
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A very good fictional critique of the evangelical word whit a very good dose of humor.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not as awesome as I had hoped. Or perhaps I'm not bright enough to get it. Regardless, I didn't love it.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Pretty classic Wilson. Insightful, hilarious, and gospel-steeped.
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
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“Nine times out of ten, the coarse word is the word that condemns an evil and the refined word the word that excuses it. G.” 0 likes
“If John had been paying close attention to Lester’s face, he would have seen him go white, the way men do when they see a trap swinging shut on them.” 0 likes
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