The Gospel According to Larry
by Janet Tashjian

Josh has been in love with Beth since the sixth grade and is amazed at her new passion. Despite the fact that she seems to hold her affections for a typical jock football player, Beth is obsesseed with the website "The Gospel According to Larry." "Larry" posts occasional sermons denouncing materialism and making fun of the ad industry. His passion for anti-materialism not only makes him a hit with Beth, but with people all across the world, including Bono from U2. So, Josh, naturally, though not enthusiastically agrees to join a "Larry" discussion at school and to join her at Larryfest. Of course, he also fails to mention that he is, in fact, "Larry."

The Gospel According to Larry is a funny, and touching book which is so much more than a social commentary. Josh's unrequited love for Beth, now entering its sixth year, is enough to break anyone's heart and bring back potentially bad memories of crushes gone wrong. The major characters are three dimensional, with Beth going back and forth between her crush for a cute athlete and her respect for "Larry's" anti-commercialism. Peter, Josh's stepfather and ad agency employee, is portrayed as a caring parent who truly does love his stepson, despite their philosophical differences. The set up of the novel is also quite clever. The frame is a story in which the author is handed a manuscript by a young man at the supermarket. The rest of the book is the alleged manuscript, all presented in the original typewritten form.

Despite the book's sarcastic humor, the ending is a bit disturbing and doesn't seem to fit. It is almost as if the author didn't know where to end her story and needed to justify her protagonist wandering around in secret, handing out manuscripts. For those who are unsatisfied with the ending, however, the adventures of Josh are told somewhat on the real life website www.thegospelaccordingtolarry.com

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