I highly recommend reading this novel aloud while on a road trip This was such a clever book It raises the idea of what if there were a daughter of God This book is a very sarcastic fable story that delves into what would happen if God had a daughter in modern times I read this in college and had the chance to actually meet the author The only question he wouldn t answer was what was his religion He wanted to keep that to himself.
Act 1 In which we meet a bunch of personality quirks masquerading as characters And some basic background is laid down.
A strange loner in a lighthouse learns one of his sperm bank donations has self fertilized, a new immaculate conception, this time in a test tube Meet Julie Katz, daughter of God, but unsure of her purpose Dad plays the worried Jewish man and fears her divinity will make her a target Best friend Phoebe thinks she should be out saving the world, rebellious teen with a big heart And Julie herself will change personalities throughout the book like an actress playing multiple roles.
But wait Is that some subtle foreshadowing I see A few hints of what s to come Nope, my bad I should be taking notes because you are literally having the devil make a list of things I should watch out for later in the book Never mind, no foreshadowing here, just a big billboard.
Act 2 In which the daughter of God goes to hell, meets Jesus, and a reader starts checking the little status bar at the bottom of the Kindle.
So our favorite ambivalent deity travels with the devil into hell and learns that quite literally everyone is down there They visit islands filled with people suffering specific punishments, which makes Julie sad but not angry enough to really show she cares Major logistical issues start showing up, such as why the devil spends so much time promoting sin in the earthly world if everyone is coming down to him anyway.
A little bit of heavy handed philosophizing comes in there somewhere, having Jesus himself point out flaws in Christianity in oh, so clever ways Most of this section seems to involve Julie and Jesus giving water to the damned Oh, and somehow if a person dies in hell he truly is gone forever It is supposed to make since, though I never figured out all the details.
Worst of all, for me at least, the section was boring One third of the book and only a couple of scenes stand out at all Moving on Act 3 In which the book starts to redeem itself, then falls horribly off the rails and defies all common sense.
Julie goes back to earth as a normal mortal She starts doing some good in the world on a personal level Some touching moments as she attempts to help Phoebe clean up her life For a while there was something really clicking in this section as we saw Julie dogood without any of her god power than she ever did when she had it I thought the book was gaining a point, then once again got dragged back into a unfunny religious parody.
To be completely honest I didn t buy into a single thing the author was selling me A religious revival causing a splinter nation from the United States, a twentieth century auto da fe ignored by the international community, a voice command replacement limb More heavy handed pointing out of inconsistencies in the Bible Somehow the devil loses power in hell because Julie won t be bad Once again though, I never could figure out the damn details.
Act 4 In which there wasn t really an Act 4 in the book, but Nathan felt the need for a conclusion to his review.
I think I would have loved this book late in high school Every time he skewered a specific religious tenant I would have been oh hell ya Hell, it is some of the same arguments every wannabe atheist starts throwing around when they rebel against religion The early nineties must have been the time for books like these, browsing through Goodreads I found Good Omens, Small Gods, and Lamb The Gospel According to Biff all came out within a few years of each other.
I don t mind the blasphemous nature of the book, I am hardly religious But if that is the type of book you are looking for you would be better off reading one of the three I listed above They were actually entertaining and coherent This book was so heavy handed and self assured I barely got through it The areas where it redeemed itself when Julie actually tried to do good were too short and far between.
That s it I am tired of trying to review this book and will now blank it from my memory.
This book requires a very open mind, the ability to suspend judgment, and a deeply ingrained sense of humor To supplement his income, Murray Katz made regular contributions to a sperm bank To Murray s surprise and to the surprise of the scientists at the Institute, one of his contributions was spontaneously fertilized and is being grown in an ectogenesis machine a female fetus Though he had never contemplated fatherhood before, Murray is unable to leave his potential progeny behind and proceeds to steal it.
How was this potential for new life possible Well, Murray with the help of a woman who was a client of the Institute arrives at the only logical conclusion His daughter must be the half sister of Jesus Christ and begotten by god himself A second immaculate conception Aware of the many dangers the revelation of this information holds, Murray is determined to raise Julie in as normal a manner as possible He constantly admonished her not to reveal her divinity in any way, warning her that she would be taken from him should others discover her blessed identity.
The knowledge of her divinity weighs heavily on Julie She is torn between fulfilling the full potential of divinity and the fear of being persecuted for it She is pushed and pulled in both directions, in a perpetual state of dilemma Only Begotten Daughter is satirical fantasy and science fiction, tackling the subject of Christian mythology Or theology, if you prefer It projects a modern world where a new progeny of god is born this time a female Julie carries the full burden of the church founded upon the teachings of her half brother, Jesus This book shines a light on the excesses and extremism religion often falls prey to James K Morrow points out some of thecontroversial issues of faith the ways it can be inconsistent, incredulous and illogical For this reason, many faithful would likely find this egregiously blasphemous But any person willing to invest time in it while holding back any outrage would likely come to the conclusion that it is written by someone who painstakingly took the time to study Christianity.
There is much insight to be gleaned from this book Even the devout can find new insight about religious beliefs if they could only embrace the concept that faith should constantly be questioned and tested Sadly, religion is often totalitarian, dreadfully serious and devoid of humor It rarely suffers challenge of any kind.
If there was anything preventing me from giving this book the full five stars, it is my difficulty in garnering sympathy for any of the characters This is mucha plot or concept driven tale The characters seem to beof a vehicle to deliver the story, not as interesting as the twists and turns that Morrow subjects them to It is not as symbiotic a relationship between story and characters as to make it sublime and perfect.
The story of Only Begotten Daughter is rather novel It is an intelligent, insightful and thoughtful exploration of faith both its glory and its absurdity It is serious and hilarious, illuminating the divisiveness of religious beliefs even while poking fun at it I think this book was written bearing in mind that any belief system that refuses all inquiry and examination is wont to be stale, stagnant and irrelevant at best, blind and delusional at worst While written in 1990, its subject matter is no less relevant in today s world with its lingering religious quandaries.
This is not an I have an afternoon to kill kind of book The commentary on religion, human nature and church history is enough to keep you busy for days, reading and re reading passages, and having discussions about what the author means, and whether his ideas are very pious or very blasphemous If you pick this up, you will get the most enjoyment out of it if you have a friend or loved one also reading it, so that you can have conversations and compare notes It s THAT kind of book However, unlike many books of this type, it s still a smooth and entertaining read, written so that it s not just easy to get through, but compelling I don t know how much of what the author says are things I agree with, but he phrases everything so cleverly and frames his arguments so entertainingly that even if I disagree I still enjoyed the book If you get the chance, give this book a try, it is a hidden literary treasure.
The characters are one dimensional, by which I mean that Molly, the robotic hand, is just as interesting as anyone else in the book Moreover, the first third of the plot drags, and the rest of the book barely holds together There are bright moments when Julie, the begotten daughter, escapes her earthly life and a little later during her return, but they aren t enough to elevate the characters.
Maybe my recent reading Camus The Rebel is biasing my impression, but one of Morrow s theses appears to be that deification isn t what it s cracked up to be, but humanity is The book has enough metaphorical content to go around, but it s all thinly painted and fails to cohere Coupled with the skeletal plot, there s not enough here to recommend the book.
Not at all what I expected, this is a gem of a book Julie Katz is the daughter of God and as hard as she tries to live a normal life, world changing events follow in her path Raised by a jewish scholar and a lesbian with a baby of her own, her vision of family is refreshingly modern, as is her belief in the divinity of science Her message to the world that science does have all the answers, we just don t have all the science and her well established lack of perfection lead Julie and her people on quite a journey, even as far as hell and back.
From immaculate conception to eventual finale, this is an irreverent look of what might happen if God decided to have a second child, born in 1970s New Jersey.
I would never have picked this book up had it not been given to me but I was thankful it was It had a very intriguing premise a male celibate lighthouse keeper brings about the second coming of Christ in the form of a daughter I can t remember all the details about it but I do remember you did not have to have a strong understanding of the bible to get the book most of the items that needed to be explained in order to understand the plot were but, of course, a founding in some of the general principles of Christianity were helpful.
Read my full review here Call It A Miracle Or An Accident At The Sperm Bank But Julie Katz, The Half Sister Of Jesus, Has Been Born To A Celibate Father Soon Poor Julie Is Tempted By The Devil And Challenged By Neo Christian Zealots And That S Just The Beginning Of Her Fantastic Odyssey Through Hell, A Seceded New Jersey, And Her Own Confused Soul Winner Of AWorld Fantasy Award