Godless

Godless

by Pete Hautman
3.9 39

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Overview

Godless by Pete Hautman

"Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion?"
Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416908166
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 10/25/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 273,233
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Pete Hautman is the author of National Book Award–winning novel Godless, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, Stone Cold, The Flinkwater Factor, The Forgetting Machine, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as several adult novels. He lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at PeteHautman.com.

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Godless 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
There is a reason that GODLESS won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and I don't believe it's because author Pete Hautman wrote a book he intended to be satire, as other reviews have suggested. To me, GODLESS is the epitome of everything that is both bad and good about organized religion--it is, in effect, an entreaty to the leaders of religions around the world to look at how blind faith funds their coffers.

Yes, maybe I'm reading more into the book than the author intended. If so, I can only hope that he appreciates the fact that I've obviously thought about the words he wrote long after they were published, and that he'd be happy about that fact. Now, though, on to the story...

Fifteen-year old Jason Bock is an agnostic ("I'll believe in God when I see Him") bordering on being an atheist ("There is no God"). His mother is obsessed over his health, coming up weekly with a new ailment that he just has to be suffering from. His father, though, is more concerned with his son's soul. That's why Jason, regardless of his personal beliefs, finds himself attending weekly Sunday Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd, and even occasionally joins in at Thursday night TPO (Teen Power Outreach) meetings. The fact that he's ordered to attend the meetings more frequently when he's in trouble doesn't escape his notice.

Until one day, agnostic slash atheist Jason wonders what would happen if he started his own religion. Along with his best friend, Shin, fellow TPO attendee Magda, preacher's son Dan, and town rebel Henry, Jason creates the Chutengodians, a religion who worships the Ten-Legged One. That the Ten-Legged One is the town's water tower doesn't seem to deter them.

I know what you're thinking--who in their right mind would worship a water tower, even if they are teenagers? The answer, of course, is pretty simple. Why do people worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost? Why are there Buddhists, Muslims, Scientologists, Mormons, Protestants, or Latter Day Saints? Why does anyone worship anything? They do it because someone came up with their own ideas, made up some rules, implemented some commandments, created posts of leadership, and recruited parishioners.

Jason does the same, with some of the same consequences other organized religions have faced over the centuries--infighting, backstabbing, persecution, and doubts. When one Chutengodian almost ends up dead in an accident, and another seems determined to take his own life, and the others doubt the wisdom of associating with the creator of their religion, things start to fall apart. Sounds to me a lot like what happens in most "normal" organized religions found throughout the world today.

GODLESS is, without a doubt, one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone searching for their own truths, regarding not only religion but finding your sense of self. You won't be disappointed--I know I wasn't.
Wrath-kun More than 1 year ago
A quick and enjoyable read that gets you thinking.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
In *Godless*, Pete Hautman sets out to examine an issue that is largely neglected among many YA novels—faith, religion, and the role of spirituality in the lives of adolescents. What works in this novel—but especially what does not work—illustrates the difficulty of writing entertaining and meaningful YA fiction about this subject. Jason Bock, the teenaged protagonist, is a rather unlikeable guy. Sarcastic to the point of obnoxiousness, relatively friendless, physically large (he describes himself as “large-bodied, hulking, and neckless”), and without any genuine interests or ambition, Jason—bored with the summer break from school—chooses to entertain himself by founding his very own religion. Rather than coming to this decision as the result of some sort of enlightening or relatable soul-searching or even as the result of a profound epiphany of some kind, Jason comes up with the idea of worshipping his town’s water tower after he’s decked by a punch from Henry Stagg, the town bully. Without going into great detail about the rather uninspired plot, suffice it to say that Jason’s religion—founded on quite a flimsy notion to begin with—spirals out of his control, devolves into a source of his nerdy friend Shin’s neurotic self-doubt, and sets the stage for a sparsely developed love triangle among Jason, Henry, and Magda, the lone female member of Jason’s budding religion. An ill-advised adventure results in an injury for one of the characters, another character suffers a nervous breakdown of sorts, and Jason briefly considers the value of religious belief as a source of strength and motivation. As the story of Jason’s inability to identify why he feels so disillusioned and pessimistic about his desultory and pedestrian adolescent life, *Godless* works well. As a story that examines the purpose of faith, religion, and spirituality in the lives of adolescents—and why it’s imperative that teens question and examine these issues on their own rather than simply aping the beliefs of their parents and other adults—*Godless* falls short of the mark.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ave adopted chutengodianism as my religion. I read this book as much as i can and i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If your looking for a great book read this it gies by quick i read it in one class period its worth the read
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Read this book and it was a little hard for me to put down.
CoryW More than 1 year ago
This book starts off really cool, with the main character creating his own religion and other kids joining and stuff, but then it doesn't go anywhere. It stalls out about halfway through, and the character doesn't really learn much by the end, and neither do you. I totally recommend The Atheist's Church over this book any day.
JP22 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most interesting books I have ever read!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutely loved it!!!!! it was funny, thought provoking and exciting! i totaly agree with everything hautman says!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pete Hautman's sense of humor is great. My friends and I have the same imagination and the idea is just funny. Note: this book isn't suppossed to be read with all out seriousness but to joke about it and just enjoy the creativity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel had one exciting part. I felt like most of this book was building up and concluding the ten pages of action. The idea of the book to begin with is crazy, and how obsessed the kids in the novel became with the crazy idea in the first place just makes it even worse. I mean to the point where kids are breaking bones and getting in trouble with the police, just to visit the water tower, or their made up 'god', just doesn't sound reasonable. The coming together of the characters is somewhat interesting though, just because they are so different from one another, but the fact that they all betray each other in the end and break apart ruins that. Overall this book wasn't worth my time, I don't suggest it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pete Hautman has officially become my favorite author besides Anne Rice. In Goddless he takes a look at what it's like to doubt your faith. Through the eyes of his main charecter, he gives us a reason to question that which seems as solid as your religion,in a way that keeps you turning pages. Every book i've read by him has been a triumph and Godless is no exception, I simply couldn't put it down. If you enjoy a story with a seriouse meaning that doesnt take itself to seriously, then you have to read this book.