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The House on Tenafly Road
Adrienne Morris

The Dirty Parts of the Bible: A Novel

The dirty parts of the Bible - Sam Torode We have a sister and she hath no breastsSong of SolomonThe Dirty Parts of The Bible by Sam Torode is an audacious and fairly faithful retelling of Tobias, the Angel and Sarah from the Book of Tobit. Tobias, the son of a Baptist minister in small town 1930s Michigan, wrestles with hormones, spirituality and listlessness. When his father is blinded in a freak accident involving booze and birds, Tobias is sent on a mission to Texas to recover a stash of buried cash and save the family.Almost immediately losing all of his money, he rides the rails with Craw, a vagabond who acts as his specious mentor and dispenser of obtuse advice while remaining a steady voice of reason throughout. When he finally makes it to Texas, Tobias meets and falls in love with Sarah, a dangerous paramour whose previous boyfriends all died as a result of an Indian curse. It veers into urban fantasy/magical realism at the end with magic and demons, which would have been fine except it felt rushed. The ending came too quickly.The title comes from one of the opening chapters where Tobias learns of all the “dirty parts” his father most certainly had not been reading to him at bedtime. I had my own similar meeting with the dirty parts of the bible when as a good little Catholic reading myself to sleep I came across the story of Lot and his daughters. I immediately shut the book, studied the cover to make sure this was indeed the Good Book I was perusing and handed it off to my father telling him “I don’t think this is meant for me.” This book, though, certainly was.Everything considered, this was a fun and quirky coming of age novel that touches on biblical themes, spirituality, family, transitions, growing up and finding love.