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Posted May 14, 2012
While I enjoyed this book, (I'm giving it four stars, after all)I can't say that I loved it. There was too much left out for it to completely work.
Luke, the narrator, is a wonderfully fleshed out and flawed character. He is a teenage boy and isn't quite sure that he even believes what he wrote a year earlier, but he's off on a book tour anyway. He makes mistakes, some knowing they are mistakes and some inadvertent ones as well. Yet, he is trying to do what he thinks is right or perhaps it is more that he is trying to do what is expected of him.
His brother, Matt, doesn't seem to have much going on except for being self-centered and something of a user. He takes over the book tour, hauling Luke, Alex, Matt's girlfriend and Fran, the girl Luke wanted as a girlfriend a year ago, to all kinds of places that aren't planned, causing chaos and generally being less than helpful. Unfortunately I didn't get much of his personality except his userness. There is maybe one or two scenes where Matt is finally honest and someone Luke can depend on, but by that time, everything else has fallen apart.
Alex, Matt's girlfriend, seems nice. I didn't get much beyond that about her. She seems nice.
Fran, oh Fran, what a drama queen and I didn't really like her much. I think for this story to actually work well, I'd have to really think Fran is wonderful. And I don't. I'm left thinking that she has made her own mess for no real reason.(view spoiler)[ The fact that she dyed her hair purple, got multiple piercings, upped her self-mutilation and is binge drinking because her parents were disappointed in her was idiotic. I was waiting for the big reveal of what exactly happened to her. It must have been terribly horrific to cause her to completely change. But nope. She made bunny ears behind her dad's head and the photo appeared in the newspaper. So, hair dye and piercings resulting in her parents not talking to her and ignoring her for a year. I was very let down by this reveal. (hide spoiler)]She caused her own problems and I know I'm supposed to think she's very deep, but she seems to me just a teenage drama queen, making her own misery while blaming it on everyone else, particularly Luke.
Hallelujah is the book Luke has written. People believe the book is all true because Luke has stated it is all true. I think knowing exactly what was in the book would have been a big help to me. There are small texts at the beginning of each chapter, but it didn't really explain what the book actually is about. Was it a retelling of the Gospels using a teenage boy in place of Jesus? It is alluded to that people think Luke has done all these things that happen in his book, so I'd have liked to know exactly what those things were. Just some kind of synopsis would have helped or at least someone describing what's in it. All I know is that it's funny and sad and there are bits about spending time in a desert and swimming a river. For me, the book and people's connection to it, were the foundation of the story, it's why Luke is on the book tour, so I needed to understand the book a bit more.
There is mention of the kind of parents Luke and Matt have as compared to Alex and Fran's parents, but neither set is described in enough detail for me to understand that. Luke's parents are nicer, I guess. It's said that Fran's parents house is spotless and they are strict. I needed to know more for me to connect Fran's antics.
All told, I enjoyed this one a lot and the only reason