Monday, March 21, 2011

Imaginary Jesus

Imaginary Jesus
Author Matt Mikalatos

Imaginary Jesus is an hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. When Matt Mikalatos realizes that his longtime buddy in the robe and sandals isn’t the real Jesus at all, but an imaginary one, he embarks on a mission to find the real thing. On his wild ride through time, space, and Portland, Oregon, he encounters hundreds of other Imaginary Jesuses determined to stand in his way (like Legalistic Jesus, Perpetually Angry Jesus, and Magic 8 Ball Jesus). But Matt won’t stop until he finds the real Jesus—and finally gets an answer to the question that’s haunted him for years. Be warned: Imaginary Jesus may bring you face-to-face with an imposter in your own life.

Those who live in the Pacific Northwest will find the Portlander humor hysterical. There's something about sog on the brain that warps writers minds and makes them downright whacky. Perhaps it is because I went to school in Oregon (Portland) and now live in Seattle, that I find the vegan socialist cafes and Mormon missionaries knocking door-to-door hilarious, especially when the main character offers them a cup of coffee. The concept of imaginary Jesus is original and philosophical. Those who are willing to go on a journey with a talking donkey and sledding with Jesus will tumble through this Alice in Wonderland-like venture happily. If you are easily offended by alternative thoughts, you may want to stay clear. If you have no sense of humor about the search for religion than you also might want to skip this satirical, but also deeply serious story. 

My favorite highlighted quotes:  

"Yeah, I got suspicious when my omnipotent best friend (imaginary Jesus) couldn't keep me from getting a parking ticket."

"Magic 8 Ball Jesus.  A lot more common than you would think.  People pray to Jesus and then wait to see what answer they'll get.  It's interesting.  A Magic 8 Ball only has twenty replies..."

Philosophical tales can be tricky when it comes to fiction. By nature, they are floaty, abstract and tend to slip into what professors of Creative Writing refer to as "The Talking Head." This alternative world is inside the character's head and at times feels like he has no legs that are cemented in reality. But, if you are into philosophy you may ask, 'What is reality?' and continue floating helplessly in the pool of the infinite mind. I personally like philosophical novels, but need a bit more grounding then this story provides.

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