Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Danny Gospel by David Athey


"Danny Gospel" has to be the most bizzare little novel I've read in...I don't know how long. Yet, in spite of the oddness of the story, it was a book I could not put down until the final page was turned.

Danny grew up in a gospel singing family that was so well known for their singing, they became known as the Gospel family. With Daddy singing baritone, Granny strumming guitar, brother Jonathan on banjo and Mom on harp...the group is rounded out by little sister Holly on violin.

Danny's voice added to the family harmony...but this was a family who, off the stage, had very little harmony in its dynamic. And tragedy seemed to dog Danny's steps as well.

Sister Holly and Grandma were the first promoted home, then Momma, then Daddy...until all that remained were Danny and his semi-estranged brother, Jonny.

So, Danny bounces from job to home to...somewhere. Is it in his imagination? Is he mentally ill? Or is his world simply a Christian version of the bizarre movie tribute to the Beatles ("Across the Universe").

That's how this book reads...like a hodge-podge of memory, hallucination, and wishful thinking, mixed in with current happenings in Danny's life. As I said, it was weird, a little bizarre...and highly engaging.

Danny Gospel is a likeable and troubled fellow that you want to see succeed in whatever it is he believes will make him a success. The events of his life are played out in flashbacks, and as they come together a more complete and solid image of who Danny is and why he is becomes crystal clear.

This is a relatively short novel (which kinda bummed me out!), but an enjoyable if unusual reading experience. I'm giving "Danny Gospel" three out of five bookmarks (nearly four, just barely missing the tassel), with a pink Cadillac charm...and no, he doesn't sell Mary Kay!

Just read the novel when it comes out from Bethany House in April 2008! I think you may just enjoy "Danny Gospel"!

Happy Reading!


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