Zombies, vampires & werewolves are not my usual reading fare (although if you check out the plethora of these books on Amazon cyberspace shelves & real-time library shelves, lots of other folks are really into this genre!) HOWEVER, I saw this new book posted on author John Scalzi’s “Whatever” blog (I enjoyed his “Old Man’s War” – a unique read, not quite Terry Pratchett but well done fun. His blog is over-the-top-amazing!) Clicking over to Amazon reviews with endorsing blurbs “written like C.S. Lewis,” as an avid C.S. Lewis groupie I decided to give the “Night of the Living Dead Christian” a try. In seconds my Kindle hummed with the new book. After finishing it, HOWEVER, methinks the blurbs should read: ‘written like C.S. Lewis ON CRACK.’
Evangelically potent, but still…the author obviously had lollipops laced with SOMETHING radical in his childhood (or maybe, at Church??)
Matt Mikalatos (the author) doubles as the narrator and almost-main-character while Luther Martin, the werewolf (trying-to-transform-his-werewolf-ness) takes over a few chapters & is definitely the Main Character. Throw in a mad scientist (Dr. Culbetron), his robot side-kick (Hibbs 3000), a vampire neighbor (Lara), and a horde of churched Zombies (undead & dead) … add Borut, a ruthless werewolf hunter out to kill the werewolf Main Character, and the plot definitely thickens with hilarity, the Absurd layered in levels of Allegory, and bits of seriously Serious Seriousness by the end.
You have to plod through quite a few ruffled feathers (& monsterish clashes) to get to the good bits at the end. Keep plodding. The Allegories (undead & dead Zombies at church dragging about their heavy Study Bible tomes, unquestioningly swallowing spoon fed faith without letting it near their hearts) are not exactly subtle. The Lutherans get an especially bad rap (Luther Martin blames his father, a Lutheran pastor, for his lack of faith; but that’s just the beginning of the anti-Lutheran diatribes.) PERTURBED, I put the book down a few days, since I worked with many devout Lutherans in Tanzania (my boss George Mkanza, his wife Sarah – a Lutheran pastor, our Board of Trustees Chairperson, Helen Kijo-Bisimba, along with probably half of our 600+ staff!) AND I am a huge groupie of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a rather devout Lutheran and CHRISTIAN (if anyone doesn’t think he’s on the other side rejoicing in the Heavenlies: PHOOEY ON YOU-EY!!)
But, I kept going (keeping in mind these views are held by the WEREWOLF, who may end up doing some changing…) Lutherans are not the only ones zapped in this book – best to read it with an open mind (hey, we could all use a little transformation, not just werewolves & vampires!)
Werewolf Luther wants to be transformed to get his wife & daughter who have left him back, so Matt & his odd assortment of new monster-ish buddies try to help him find Jesus – (attempts to scientifically ‘clone’ Jesus from a Catholic communion wafer are hilariously unsuccessful, but at least Dr. Culbertron holds the Host ‘reverently’… & there’s a great part where all the Gospel translations are programmed into a robot Jesus & even Matt’s Evangelical ‘I-know-the-answer-to-that-one’ is turned upside down!)
It all comes together in the last few page-turner chapters that include a few tear-leaks (the water kind) as Luther Martin dramatically finds the real Jesus (& transformation) with the help of his neighbor-now-friend Matt in a redemption scene that is rather C.S. Lewish-ish. (Ruffled feathers are definitely unruffled by the end…)
Creatively challenging, this book made me laugh (more than once); it made me mad (more than once); it made me think (more than once); it made me cry (more than once)…& it will make me pray (more than once) for more ‘un-dead’ Christians (of all varieties) to be the LOVE-FILLED Hands & Feet of Jesus to the world’s ‘Werewolves’ around us.
Keep at those laced-UP radical lollipops, Matt Mikalatos (!)
ding-dong … must dash to Trick-or-Treat door duty – lollipops anyone?
grace, peace & Happy Halloween!
Virginia : )