Wednesday, June 25, 2014

COALTOWN JESUS, by Ron Koertge Blog Post by Mrs. Schauer

I just read this one, start to finish, right when I opened my newest shipment of books for the high school library.  Wow.  What a great read!  Ron Koertge's latest novel in verse plunks Jesus Christ right down into the bedroom of a fourteen year old boy's room in Coaltown, Illinois.  He is there to help Walker deal with the death of his older brother Noah--and he does exactly that.  I won't give away too much of the story, but I will say this:  I will be recommending this little treasure to everyone I know!

Koertege depicts a Jesus that is exactly what Walker needs at this juncture in his life.  Koertge's Jesus is witty and irreverent, while at the same time being deeply profound in that irreverence.  Within the first few lines of Jesus's dialogue I was immediately reminded of the Jesus depicted by Christopher Moore in  Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.  In fact, I would say Coaltown Jesus could almost be the "junior" version of Moore's book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Jesus:  "I'm sorry, but I can't just giggle.  I'm God."
Walker:  "You look like Jesus."
Jesus:  "John 10:30: I and my Father are one.'"
Walker: "I don't think I understand that."
Jesus:  "You're not the only one."

Jesus:  "I'll be back. Relax.  Or as they say in the Bible, 'Fear not.'"

Jesus:  "I love being called the Great Spirit.  Some of the other names not so much.  The Anointed One, for instance.  Makes me feel greasy."

Walker:  "You're mad at kids for wanting a pony?"
Jesus:  "Little kids I don't mind.  Every kid want a pony.  It's grown-ups that get my robe in a knot.  Stop with the begging, okay?  Adore me for a change. Or give thanks.  I like gratitude.  Or ask for guidance.  But oh, no.  It's always the pony."

Jesus:  "All of a sudden I'm in this body.  I've got a heart and hands and feet.  I can see and feel.  That's why babies cry so much.  All of a sudden having a body is a lot to deal with."

Jesus:  "I knew what was coming down the pike so I'd practice.  Like making one hot dog feed six kids and running on water."
Walker:  "In the Bible, you just walked."
Jesus:  "Yeah, but I was so bad at it that I'd run so I wouldn't sink so fast.  Didn't help  Went right down like a stone.  Faith is like anything else:  you have to work at it, I wasn't that good at first."

Jesus:  "Ah, there it is. Signs of your holiness."
Walker:  "I just smiled.  You made a dumb joke and I smiled."
Jesus:  "And that isn't holy?"

Jesus: "Confusion is good."
Walker:  "Everything's good to you."
Jesus:   "And that's a bad thing?"