Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: The Gospel According to Larry, by Janet Tashjian

The Gospel According to Larry is a thought-provoking book about a teen's attempt to take on society's problem with consumerism. This book was chosen by my teen book club to discuss this month, so this is a re-read for me. I'm looking forward to what they have to say -- there's lots of good stuff to talk about here.

Josh is a backwards, nerdy high school kid. Beth is his only friend, but Josh has always had a huge crush on her, and wished for more than friendship. Unbeknownst to Beth or anyone else, Josh has started writing a website, The Gospel According to Larry, where he writes sermons railing against consumerism and whatever else is bothering him. The website has gained much popularity and Beth is one of it's most staunch supporters. Actually, Beth starts a Larry fan club at their school.

Larry's step dad, Peter, works for an advertising agency, which makes what Josh is doing even more ironic. Things get better and better, as Bono from U2 gets wind of Larry and followers go off the chart. But then things get worse because one follower, betagold, is determined to find out who Larry really is. After Josh is discovered things quickly tumble out of control, and Josh has a terrible decision to make.

Josh is quirky. He owns only 75 items and part of his web entries are pictures of his possessions. Josh is still mourning the loss of his mother, which he does by visiting the make-up counter at Bloomingdale's, one of his mother's favorite places. There are footnoted comments by Josh that had me laughing out loud. He definitely has an interesting take on life.

The novel is written as if Tashjian has been handed this manuscript by a young boy who has asked her to publish it, which works quite well. There are sequels, Vote for Larry and Larry and the Meaning of Life, which are available now. Teens who enjoy contemporary novels about a misfit teen trying to make a difference in the world will like this. Even though this book was published eight years ago, I didn't find it too dated (yet).

Published by Dell Laurel-Leaf, 2003
Copy obtained from the library
227 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I've heard really good things about this book. I've had it on my tbr pile for quite sometime but never got around to reading it. I think I'll have to bump it up higher on my list. Thanks for the review and I hope your teen group liked the book!

  2. I haven't heard about this book before but it sounds really interesting. I'll have to try and get hold of a copy. Great review :)


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