Review of The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode

In 1936, nineteen-year-old Tobias Henry lives a sheltered Remus, Michigan life. As the The Dirty Parts of the Bibleonly child of an overzealous Baptist preacher, Tobias spends most of his time thinking about God and girls. After a loud argument, involving a frozen chicken and quite a bit of swearing, Preacher Malachi unwittingly gets drunk on hard cider, crashes the family car and becomes permanently blinded by bird poop. Subsequently, the preacher is driven from the church and given his walking papers. The Henry family will soon be homeless unless Tobias follows Malachi’s instructions to return to his hometown of Glen Rose, Texas to find the money he’d stored safely in an abandoned well. Tobias accepts the challenge and meets a variety of interesting characters, while being exposed to a world quite foreign to him.

Sam Torode has spun a funny and clever retelling of the ancient Jewish tale of Tobias and Sarah from the Book of Tobit. The Dirty Parts of the Bible is captivatingly unique. The title itself grabbed my attention, as I’m sure it was designed to do. However, this was no raunchy retelling. While there was some cursing and slightly sexual situations, it was done with a great deal of taste and certainly reflected the era.

The character of Craw, the hobo Tobias meets early on in the story, is absolutely charming. In fact, all of the characters were likeable. The religious discussions between all of the characters are thought provoking and intelligent, and present a variety of views on the subject. The author has a created a story full of such detailed imagery, it was easy to place myself into the story and immerse myself in it while reading. It took me just one day to read the book, it was that good.

I would definitely recommend The Dirty Parts of the Bible to anyone who enjoys a nostalgic look at a bygone era that incorporates religion, coming of age, engaging characters and several good laughs along the way.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton