A review of Monte Schulz's This Side of Jordan is up over at BoingBoing.
This Side of Jordan is the story of Alvin Pendergast, a selfish, ignorant, bitter consumptive farm-boy who lights out across America with Chester Burke, a vicious gangster and serial killer. On their first job, they pick up Rascal, a mad dwarf who's been imprisoned by his aunt who hopes to steal his inheritance. The three set out on a series of violent, picaresque adventures as Chester drags them from one act of bloody, senseless criminality to the next.
The basic gist of the review is that this book is very well written but that none of the characters are likable and don't try to change their terrible situations. I guess it was always anybody's guess as to what kind of novel the son of Charles M. Schulz would write.
Former Salvo senior editor Russell Moore wrote a great review in Touchstone magazine of a recent biography of Charles M. Schulz, a man who felt like he could never kick that football.
That kind of vanity, that kind of despair, is found all around us, even next to us in the pew. This book is a sober call to us to remember, to pray for, and to love those especially who will never believe they can be loved.
It is also a reminder that the story of human life is indeed dark, so dark that a true assessment of it forces men to construct an alternative story, a story they can draw, in Schulz’s case, or, more typically, imagine. In either case, death looms.
p. s. I hope you appreciate that I resisted the temptation to title this blog post "Good Grief" or "Psychiatric Help 5¢".