“The Gospel According to Larry” by Janet Tashjian

26 Mar


"The Gospel According to Larry" is presented as if it's the actual typed manuscript created by Larry's alter ego, high school senior Josh Swensen. Josh invented Larry as a way to post "sermons" about materialism and consumerism. He's as surprised as anyone when Larry's website becomes an international phenomenon; there's even a Woodstock-style "Larry Fest" headlined by U2! Unfortunately, there's also a movement to reveal Larry's true identity, which starts to make Josh increasingly edgy. Worse yet? Josh's stepdad is an advertising executive, and Josh used information taken from his confidential reports in many of Larry's postings.

I'm honestly not sure what to make of this book. Larry's sermons struck me as incredibly heavy handed, and they became, with time and repetition, a bit annoying. Josh himself seemed like an authentic character, with just enough quirks (communicating with his dead mother at the Bloomingdale's makeup counter, spending long stretches in a hidden underground pit reading the works of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau) to keep him interesting. I was not, however, entirely convinced that the story itself, the rise and fall of Larry, was entirely believable. And I wanted it to be! The somewhat depressing and contrived ending may leave readers with a bad overall impression of the book. That's a shame, because there's a lot of humor and some insightful commentary here on the world we live in. I guess, in the end, it's one of those "good not great" middle school books.

Note: There is also a sequel to this book, which is titled "Vote For Larry." Please click here to learn more in our MAIN Library catalog.

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Posted by on March 26, 2007 in Uncategorized


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