Thou Shalt Not Roadtrip, by Antony John
Luke Dorsey was just a regular kid, until his book–really just some reflections he wrote at church camp–was published. Suddenly, he’s the new Messiah, a modern day savior, the boy who will lead us all to salvation. His publishers love this of course, and send him on an LA to St. Louis book tour to promote his new gospel.
To complicate matters, Luke’s older brother, Matt, is driving and seems pretty excited about the publisher’s unlimited charge account. Even worse, Luke’s ex-best friend, Fran, is riding with them. While once a champion debater and cutest little girl in the youth group, she now sports purple hair, a drinking problem, and a serious grudge against her holier-than-thou buddy.
John tackles the thorny issue of religion with his typical humor and tact. Luke is astounded by his role as a modern day prophet, but kind of enjoys it as well. He’s resentful of Fran, though his concern for her is always a motivating factor. As they travel the nation in a disaster-plagued trip, Fran and Luke both look deep within themselves and aren’t exactly excited by what they see.
Set against the backdrop of rural America, the author introduces us to a cast of hangers-on, faithful, hypocrites, people ready to cast the first stone, and folk who just plain need a miracle. It’s easy to like Luke: not because he’s a saint or a sinner, but because he’s genuine. And genuineness is not something people really want in a miracle man.
As with his previous work, Five Flavors of Dumb, Antony John makes us fall in love with a strange group of characters in an unlikely setting. Very much worth the read.