“You’ve got to sin before you can be redeemed. A man might as well enjoy it.”THE DIRTY PARTS OF THE BIBLE
Book – The Dirty Parts of the Bible
The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode is a loose retelling of “The Book of Tobit” from the Catholic/Orthodox Deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It’s a cutesy story about a 1930’s Baptist preacher’s son, Tobias Henry, a devout atheist.
Well, he’s not a total unbeliever, admitting:
“Whenever I feared I was in imminent danger of death, I’d call on Jesus and beg for salvation. The rest of the time, I didn’t give him any thought. Jesus was like an insurance policy against eternal fire.”
This is a sweet, whimsical tale, full of little dabs of brilliance.
A Religious and Romantic Journey
After his father is blinded after a bird shits into his eyes, Tobias leaves home to follow his father’s exhortations to seek out and regain the family’s “fortune” & honor. Tobias rides the rails from Michigan to Texas. Along the way, he gets screwed by hookers whom, lamentably, he doesn’t get to screw.
Along the way, there’s a hobo named Craw, who’s full of St Augustinian insights like:
“Don’t get old. When I was your age, all I thought about was girls. When I was forty, all I thought about was money. These days, all I ask for is a good shit once a week.”
All while subsisting on “sonuvabitch” opossum stew.
In Texas, Tobias meets Sarah, a tough, gun-toting farm girl, whom he falls for. Sarah is unique to Tobias, unlike anyone he’s ever known.
“Sarah might not have been pretty in the usual way, but it was her little quirks that got to me. Her freckles, pointy eyebrows, the fine, downy hairs on her arms, the way she smelled. Other girls powdered over their skin, plucked their hairs, perfumed their hair. Sarah was a wild rose—graceful without trying, beautiful without knowing it. Whether it was love, lust, or just the effects of beer and a wine-colored dress, I didn’t know. But I was smitten.”
Unfortunately, the love of his life is a “durn Cathylick.” Through his relationship with Craw and his love of Sarah, he becomes more accepting to understand different religious perspectives and as he opens his mind, his heart opens to love.
God is Love
Has Tobias been looking for God in all the wrong places? Has he been so stuck on deconstructing fables that he’s missed out on experiencing something truly sacred here on Earth?
Craw tells him bluntly:
“..,[T]he point is, every woman is a vessel of beauty, life, and love—though most don’t know it. And all the forces of evil in the world are dead-set against her. That’s why loving a woman is the hardest battle you’ll ever face. Love isn’t going to fall into your lap—you’ve got to fight for it.”
Tobias discovers that God is found in the holiest of places, with the one you love. With Sarah he is complete.
While this book tackles one of life’s most controversial mysteries, religion, it’s an accessible read for anyone looking for a short, humorous slice of Americana.