01/10/2005

The Whole World in my Hands

The author, Jeremy Vine, is apparently a radio presenter who now considers this book to be juvenile. This might help explain why I was mostly underwhelmed by it.

The story is about Derek, a middle-aged Church of England vicar, who's lost his enthusiasm and his centre. His wife Judy is a trendy city worker, and rather fed up with him for various reasons. Derek hopes he might be promoted, and much of the book is about his hopes for becoming a bishop.

It's a good story in some ways, with some fairly interesting characters, and I thought it could be of interest to anyone - not just Anglicans, or even just Christians. There isn't too much church politics, and there's a fair amount of humour. Or, at least, what should be humour. Unfortunately I found myself entirely straight-faced since none of it quite worked - even when I could recognise that it should have done.

I also felt that the first chapters were a bit untidy. There were unfinished sentences, a confusing plethora of characters, and too much of the obvious (but unfunny) intended humour.

Still, it did get better, and there were even a few surprises. Nevertheless much of it was predictable, and other sections by contrast were almost surreal. I also found myself disappointed that some barely touched-upon plotlines suddenly resolved themselves effortlessly at the end.

There are far better books in this genre; it passed the time, and I didn't dislike it, but I doubt if I'll bother again.

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