Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

The title is pretty self-explanatory. A.J. Jacobs tries to follow the Biblical laws for a year. The first part of the book is dedicated to the Old Testament and Jacobs kind of half-heartedly follows some of the Biblical laws. He chooses a law to follow and then sort of attempts to follow it and then checks it off his list. The second part is supposed to be about Jacobs following the commandments in the New Testament. Instead, he interviews a few fundamentalist Christians and then his mind wanders and he begins talking about the Old Testament again. He interviews all sorts of people from varying brands of Christianity and Judaism during his experiment and even visits Israel.

I really struggled to get through this book. I finally put it down and just read it in bits and pieces in between reading other books. I was really hoping he would get something out of the experiment at the end. Maybe he would convert to Christianity or embrace his Judaic roots. I figured there would have to be some kind of spiritual payoff after going through all this trouble. Instead, he had a very nice moment at a Willy Wonka bar mitzvah where he just felt happy and loved everyone. Then, he cut off his beard and returned the Bible he had been using. And that's that.

1 comment:

  1. I had a different experience with this book, in that I liked it and looked forward to reading it each day. But I still enjoyed reading your review, and I agree, he didn't seem to reach any grand epiphany at the end. Ah well, at least he gave it a try.