“Book Review: The Jesus Nut”
Reviewed by Frank Pizzoli
The laugh-out-loud antics of three unlikely pilgrims headline this poignantly told humorous novel
After meeting up in search of elusive moral truths, three main characters find themselves in New York City looking for the greatest religious relic of the 21st Century.
The first of our lead characters is Dr. Haley Berkshire, a reviled professor of Religious Studies who does not believe in God. Second, there’s Jesse Morales, a homeless veteran who, in a way, is this story’s “Everyman.” Then, to finish off the main trio, we have Father Brian William Callum Robert O’Shea who knows a thing or two about sin, as current headlines about the ordained can reveal.
The story serves as a gateway to discuss serious moral questions in easily recognized and comical scenes. But it’s not only a sharp and funny story of discovery; it also acts as a strong foothold on the topics therein, like how it uses the prologue to offer a concise summary of how the Bible and its iterations came to be based on the accepted sequence of events among religious scholars.
If you’re looking for a book with passages that make you laugh, then later tease you to think more seriously about its themes, The Jesus Nut is for you.
Readers familiar with Janet Evanovich’s satirical novels will appreciate Prather’s handling of characters who move in and out of each other’s orbits. Each of the three main characters begins their journey in parallel fashion and later meets up to combine forces. The banter between these characters is a sure-fire high point for the novel, but it’s the adjoining discovery plot that keeps things moving.
In order to explore the themes of homelessness, priestly celibacy, evangelicalism, same sex marriage – all prominent in our daily news cycles – the author utilizes close-up scenes filled with believable and sharp dialogue. We can hear ourselves asking the same questions and getting perplexed by the same type of surface inconsistencies as these characters do.
Readers are given a fast romp through modern day challenges in the stories of our protagonists and the experiences they encounter in their journeys. Prather’s chapter constructions allow for readers to compare and contrast how they may have responded to similar situations that defy moral certitude. Then, as the characters lean deeper into their journey, they must finally decide, as do readers, what they feel, think, and ultimately believe.
The Jesus Nut is a chance for readers and book clubs to explore life’s vexing challenges with more than a few laughs along the way.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Genre: Literary Fiction / Satire
Print Length: 282 pages
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