November 20, 2009

GOD SAYS NO by James Hannaham

I wound up liking this so much more than I expected to. I mean, look at that cover. It’s brutal. It was weird to receive it from McSweeney’s, a company whose aesthetics I’m usually in love with. They’ve never put out anything ugly. Everytime I recieve a package in the mail from them it’s exciting, and not always because of the writing contained within. I openly judge these books by their covers. Just not enough to avoid reading them. They are paid for, after all.

I kind of hated it for the first two hundred or so pages. Then I realized that my response to the book shouldn’t necessarily be based on my reaction the the main character, Gary Gray, a Christian who struggles with “SSAs” (same sex attractions). He’s an innocent dude in denial about his sexuality, and sometimes the mix of that and his religion make him into kind of an asshole. It’s a tough read sometimes, especially when his wife is trying to get him into bed with her and he responds agressively, as if he were in an argument.

Hannaham, who doesn’t strike me as the most compassionate author (he thinks his book is a lot funnier than it actually is), really gets into this guy’s head. The book is written in the first person and a lot of it is what runs through the guy’s mind. Struggles, hopes, faith, and all. He really did an impressive job.


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