Nancy's Reviews > Jesus' Son

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it
bookshelves: addiction, fiction, short-stories, homelessness, library-books, shelf-inflicted
Recommended to Nancy by: Evan

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I wasn’t sure if I would like this collection of loosely connected stories about a young guy who is addicted to drugs, sometimes homeless, sometimes employed, and occasionally steals. He’s not an especially likable character, but I enjoyed being a part of his thoughts, his views, and his haphazard journey through life. Maybe it's because I have empathy for addicts and others who live on the edge.

This powerful and gripping collection of stories was troubling, intense, and humane. I was overwhelmed by its beautiful language and poignant passages.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is Dirty Wedding, a sad and unsettling little story about abortion, loneliness, heroin addiction, and death.

“The wheels screamed, and all I saw suddenly was everybody’s big ugly shoes. The sound stopped. We passed solitary, wrenching scenes. Through the neighborhoods and past the platforms, I felt the cancelled life dreaming after me. Yes, a ghost. A vestige. Something remaining.”

Beverly Home was sad, a little humorous, and very hopeful. The young narrator finds a part-time job in a nursing home, spies on a Mennonite couple in their bedroom, and begins a life of sobriety.

“All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.”

76 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jesus' Son.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 13, 2010 – Shelved
March 22, 2010 – Started Reading
March 22, 2010 –
page 45
March 23, 2010 –
page 106
March 24, 2010 – Shelved as: addiction
March 24, 2010 – Shelved as: fiction
March 24, 2010 – Shelved as: short-stories
March 24, 2010 – Finished Reading
March 31, 2010 – Shelved as: homelessness
June 19, 2010 – Shelved as: library-books
January 21, 2015 – Shelved as: shelf-inflicted

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by mark (new)

mark monday an excellent film as well.

message 2: by Brad (new)

Brad I was going to say the same thing, mark, so I will. Excellent film.

message 3: by Nicci (new) - added it

Nicci This little black book has been sitting on my bookshelf like forever. Thanks for the reminder that I must read it.

Nancy Wow, I had no idea this was adapted for film. I'll have to check it out.

I hope you like the book, Nicci.

Zachary Powell It's not really the same guy, is it?

message 6: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye Nancy wrote: "He’s not an especially likable character..."

He's a hell of a lot more likeable (well, easy on the eye) when he's played by Billy Crudup.

Mariel I LOVE this film. Samantha Morton is also in it and she does a dance scene to Tommy Roe's Sweet Pea that is something else. Also moving, harrowing, funny and oddly goofball performances from Crudup and Jack Black. Really, really good. I need to watch it again. (I'm something of a Samantha Morton super fan.)

message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye Mariel, I hope you might be able to help me.

One of the reasons I love this film is the direction of Alison McLean (a Canadian).

She is one of a bunch of women directors who I love: Mary Harron, Lisa Cholodenko and I thought here was another one from New Zealand whose name I can't remember (not Jane Campion) who had done some quintessentially indie American films (I thought it was something like "I Shot Andy Warhol" was one of them, but that was Mary Harron).

Do you know who I might be thinking of, or am I just confusing New Zealand and Canada?

Oops, I just sorted it out: Alison McLean was born in Canada to Kiwi parents.

I put her in the same league as Dean Wareham from NZ, who nailed the Velvet Underground sound in Galaxie 500 and Luna (two of my favourite bands).

Mariel I'm glad you remembered because I had no idea.

I like Galaxie 500 too.

message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian "Marvin" Graye I like Kiwi the All Blacks ;)

Zachary Powell Alright. I read it again and saw the movie. Interesting that I could have missed it was the same guy. I like that the book sly's away from rubbing that in your face.

message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve Yep. The movie's good.

message 13: by Mark (new)

Mark Matthews Interesting. I had seen the excellent movie as well, and had no idea it was first a book. There I go destroying my "book first, movie second" creed.

Nancy Mark wrote: "Interesting. I had seen the excellent movie as well, and had no idea it was first a book. There I go destroying my "book first, movie second" creed."

I found out it was a movie from reading one of the reviews here. Still waiting for it at the library.

message 15: by Debbie "DJ" (new) - added it

Debbie "DJ" Beautiful review Nancy! Will add... and watch. Thanks :)

Nancy Thank you, Debbie! I hope you enjoy it. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available on Neflix streaming. I'm also not having much luck finding it at the library.

back to top