Book Review: The Dirty Parts of the Bible – A True Coming of Age Story

Dirty Parts of the Bible

Every now and then, the literary world is blessed with a novel so great that the community simply wants to sit and weep while we forget about all the drivel that came before it. The Dirty Parts of the Bible is exactly one of those. It was a recommended must read by Amazon so I took a risk and downloaded it. I was not disappointed.

The Plot

Young Tobias has lived a sheltered life as a preacher’s son but when his father is struck blind through a rather comical event involving a bird, and left unable to work. Tobias is charged with a mission to recover a bag of hidden money on his uncle’s farm.

The story covers Tobias’ journey with colourful tales of the people he meets, the new experiences he has and the coming of age for a naive 18 year old who have never left Remus, Michigan. It also chronicles his search for the money and his internal turmoil reconciling the things he is experiencing and the life of fire and brimstone he lived with his father.

The Writing Style & the Review

This is the type of book that lends itself to great quotes. It has everything you need, from the heartfelt to the giddy. I loved the flow of writing and effortlessness that Torode seemed to have in weaving a rich tale. It felt like I could taste the dust of Texas and warmth of the fire on a starry night beside the river. The social commentary of the time and the way Torode dealt with issues of class and racism was subtle and at times hilarious without being flippant.

“He was opposite my real father in every way – a black man who chewed snuff and drank whiskey and told dirty jokes – but he was like a father nonetheless. I missed that dirty old bum of a beast.”

“… – your average Remus boy could kill and skin a buck with his bear hands. The problem was, I wasn’t your average Remus boy – I was the pale, pansy preacher’s son. All I could do in a pinch was recite a bunch of Goddamn Bible verses.”

“‘… – I could hear you yelling from a mile away. I knew it was you, ’cause you cuss like a Baptist.’

‘Is that bad?’

‘Well, it ain’t good. It’s like a Yankee trying to speak Spanish – you got the right words, but not the accent.'”

Truly, a beautifully written book. The title created expectations and I was not disappointed as you journey through new, previously taboo, experiences with the young Tobias. While reading this, I was pleasantly reminded of O Brother, where art thou? and the Soggy Bottom Boys. The Dirty Parts of the Bible has the same feel and flavour. The religious undertone is another fantastic similarity. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new, with a little humour and a lot of heart!

My rating: 4/5

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