Thursday, June 15, 2006

Don’t you love when you start reading a book and a few pages in it hits you: I am falling in love with this story! And then you gobble up the rest of the book, sorry to see the pages coming to an end but unable to stop yourself from turning them? That’s what happened when I read The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer. At 101 pages I knew the book wouldn’t last long, but I didn’t expect to read it in the space of an hour and a half—and while I was at work, no less! The Book of Everything is the story of nine-year-old Thomas, growing up in the Netherlands just after World War II. Thomas has one great aspiration—to be happy. Not an easy goal when you’ve got the family Thomas does. His father’s a religious tyrant who abuses his mother, his mother’s a sweet woman who doesn’t deserve the foul treatment but can't seem to stop it, and his older sister, Margot, is “dumb as an ox.” Luckily, Thomas can see things no one else can see. He falls in love with the most beautiful girl in the world—who just happens to have a leather leg—forms a fast friendship with a woman everyone knows for a fact is a witch, and begins to receive visits from Jesus, whose laidback manner and charming outrage reveals Him to be a much different Messiah than Thomas ever pictured. It’s a pretty cool Jesus who accepts it when you tell him you no longer believe God exists and who says things like, “Blank’s my name.” Thomas’ unique outlook on life, his sometimes unintentional humor, and his sterling heart will win you over. And lest you think you won’t enjoy a story featuring such a young main character, rest assured this book is written for an older crowd. This book’s appeal is probably in the 12 + range. Go read this book and see for yourself. Parts are sad, and parts are laugh out loud hilarious. Just like life.

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