Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CFBA Tour This Week: Ray Blackston's A Pagan's Nightmare

Larry Hutch is dying to sell his book. He wants his agent, Ned, to find someone to buy the rights so a movie can be made from it. There’s only one problem. The book tends to poke fun at and just plain offend the religious. In a big way. It’s about a guy who wakes up one day to a sanctified, sanitized world, and he is one of the only non-believers left. And the holy army’s mission is to thump him into submission so he will join their team.

Ned isn’t sure he can find a buyer for the wacky story, but he promises to try his best. But Larry is desperate and broke, two states of being that go together quite well. They don’t go well with patience, however. And never mind that the book doesn’t even have an ending yet.

Along the way, Ned allows several people to read Larry’s book. He receives varying responses, the most extreme coming from his Baptist wife, Angie, who holds a protest on their own front lawn. A flight attendant seems to like it though, along with Ned’s college-age son and a cross dresser he met in a waiting room. So all is not lost.

Will things all be wrapped up neatly in a happy ending? Or will Larry and his main character both bite the literary dust?

Ray Blackston has created a tale within a tale, showing us what Christianity is not by humorously allowing legalism to take over and threaten the story world’s planet. I like the way alternates between Ned’s point of view, written in first person, and the characters in Larry’s book, whose stories are told in third person. It worked very well to go back and forth, weaving the “real” and story worlds together.

Amidst all the lightheartedness lies a strong message (or two) to the church. One being: “Don’t get so wrapped up in your rules and religion that you forget to love your neighbor, which includes pagans.”

Point taken.

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