Richard Smith & Maureen McElheron,
There is a God: 1,001 Heartwarming (and Hilarious) Reasons to Believe
(Penguin/Tarcher, 2013)

This book isn't what its title suggests. While you might be anticipating a Christian inspirational tome, what you really get is a play on all those times when you've, say, found your car keys and said, "There is a God after all." Here, in these pages, the coauthors give you 1,001 reasons why there's a God. Some are standard, such as No. 61, Summer love, while others -- for example, No. 68, The Divorce doubled your closet space -- are funny. Some are sincere: No. 149, Midnight Mass at Saint Paul's Cathedral in New York City. But when they hit you with a sincere one, the assemblers (it's hard to refer to people who put together books like this as authors) always follow up with a joke: No. 150 A rented tux that fits like it's not rented.

What the book is, then, is a collection of tiny moments that make you feel good, that remind you that despite the hassles of any given day, it's good to be alive. When you you're looking at a vintage 12-string guitar and the sales rep turns you on to a better and less expensive one that has a better tone, has been taken care of and that stays in tune. Or when you come home from a hard day at work and your kid wraps herself around your leg, calling out, "Daddy's home!"

Those are the moments this book celebrates.

So, yes, it's a novelty book and there's not much you can say about it in a review; about all you can do is quote from it. Since it consists of 1,001 reasons, it's about 1,001 sentences long, so you can give it a thorough reading in an hour.

Or what you can really do, is buy a copy, read it for the chuckles and then send it on to a friend who's been a little down lately.

book review by
Michael Scott Cain

2 November 2013

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