Book Review: The Final Testament of the Holy Bible

James Frey

I’m not a religious man by any means.

Growing up, my parents never involved me with any part of their religion. I was the kind of kid that had to attend church on Christmas and possibly Easter. Actually, organized religion sort of frightens me and I’m not really quite sure why. I think it has something to do with the religious fanatics that populate our world. Perhaps it’s the fact that some wars are started or heavily involved due to religious beliefs; that or it’s used as a motivational factor. I’ve often felt that the world would be a better place if we could all just do away with it altogether. I’m not saying that people who have religious beliefs are idiots – I just haven’t really been exposed to the good side of it. So, you can appreciate why I was a little weary when I heard that this was to be the subject of Frey’s next project. However, I remained hopeful.

When I read Frey’s first foray into straight up fiction with 2008’s Bright Shiny Morning, I was less than impressed with the results. I don’t know what exactly rubbed me the wrong way – maybe my expectations were impossibly high after how much I loved his two-part autobiography; or maybe it just wasn’t that great. Either way, even though I was anticipating his 4th release, I was approaching it with some sense of doubt.

Ben is a lonely alcoholic living in a small apartment in the Bronx. Even though his overly religious family and religious advisers had him pegged for greatness given the circumstances of his birth, Ben rejected it and remained confused the majority of his life. However, after a workplace accident nearly ends his life, Ben comes out a changed man. He suffers from extensive seizures in which during the instances, he believes he communicates with God. As the novel progresses, Ben becomes more and more influential in the lives he enters; almost establishing a cult or sorts. Told through the people he encounters, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible asks the question: “How would Christ be received if he graced us with His presence 2011 years later?” Evidently, fairly well.

I loved this book more than anything I’ve read this year so far. It firmly established my faith with Frey – that, if anything, Bright Shiny Morning was just a one-off, mediocre offering. His prose, while similar in all of his 4 releases (short sentences, no quotation marks, heavy on emotion), is one of my favorites to read. No one that I’ve read (at least not as of yet) can convey emotion so well when needed. Whether its through acts of love or hate, he makes me feel something for each character – each and every time.

As far as the religious material goes, I never feel like Frey had to club me over the head with it. He’s said in interviews that he doesn’t really know what his stance is on the whole idea of organized religion but you have to think he’s writing this material from a familiar place; it feels far too passionate not to be.

Posted on May 17, 2011, in books. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I haven’t reads the book and don’t know if you or Frey are “believers or not. If not you need to study some Bible prophecy about the things that are happening in the world today which indicates that the Bible is true and the ‘end times’ could be very soon. Everything that has happened, is happening, and is to happen is there and most of it substantiated in history books, encyclopedias, writings from other religions, etc. Most of it has been fulfilled or in the process, a lot to do with Israel. Just one small example. In the last days, the beast (Satan) will kill the last two witnesses and “their dead bodies shall lie in the street of that great city…where our Lord was crucified; and they of all the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half. Revelations, Chapter 11, Verses 8 and 9”. Now this was written nearly 2000 years ago, by John who was given these visions by God, and all these many centuries people have wondered (even doubted) that this could happen. Now for past 30 years or so, we know. Satellite TV is in every nation on earth. If you’ve heard of the ‘mark of the beast’, 666, you probably know that the technology for putting a chip into people with a number or information is here and being done now. Revelations is hard to understand unless you have studied a lot, for a lot of symbolism is used regarding the nations, etc. The things John saw in his visions he did not have names for because they had not been invented or hadn’t happened. You can even read about airplanes, but what I have just written is very simple. Put in your search box, Google or Bing if you have it, New World Order, prophesied. This was written in the Old Testament many years before the birth of Christ. It is ‘secretly’ in the making. The beginning is happening right now–the toppling of world dictators–if you watch the news. In the near future, maybe a year or two or three years, who knows, a charismatic leader will emerge and bring peace, even work miracles, claiming to be the Christ. This will last three and a half years and then his true nature will be revealed–Satan, the anti-Christ. Keep your eyes and ears open and you will see it for yourself. I can tell you where to find these facts in the Bible if you are interested or just curious. Said in love, eggy

  2. I’m not quite sure what it was you were trying to say but I certainly appreciate your comment.

    Thanks for reading!

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