Friday, March 19, 2010

Review: Model Home by Eric Puchner

What follows is my impressionistic review of the source of yesterday's Quote du Jour:

We know Model Home to be authentic and true because it prominently features an aged dog, a beloved mutt, who sings to rocks. This we recognize as exactly the type of amazing creature one actually encounters in this wonderful world.

In this novel, Murphy’s Law is in full effect: if it can go horribly wrong, it almost immediately does so. The portraits of the characters—each of the survivors—are so authentically drawn that one is compelled to love each of them, while perhaps liking none of them. This also rings true. It rings true, at least, as the potential saving grace of our own flawed lives—as that toward which we should be constantly aspiring.

Another such message is delivered by our understanding of the character Kenny, who is imagined as a “professional Jesus impersonator.” His is the vocation which we should all be setting our sights upon.

In Model Home we have a narrative which, if it cannot be said to remain at all times within the boundaries of probability, nonetheless never strays far from God’s own Truth. It is a valuable book, replete with lessons that we need to learn.

It is a book that encourages its readers, by showing how even the losers can help each other simply by going on with it; breathing in, and breathing out:

Curled inside the mailbox, sandwiched between the phone bill and a Sharper Image catalog, was an eleven-by-fourteen envelope. Warren opened the envelope and pulled out a glossy photograph of Jesus Christ in a hooded robe, clutching a shepherd’s staff and staring majestically into the distance, presumably at His flock. It took Warren a second to recognize the face. At the bottom, just above Christ’s bold and splashy signature, were the words Keep on keepin’ on. Warren laughed. He started to throw the picture in the trash can, but some unnegotiable force caused him to hold on to it.

Get it and read it. It couldn't hurt.