Thank you to author Paul Brad Logan for providing me with a copy of Hallelujah! in exchange for this honest review.
Hallelujah! is the story of Harold, a tall sad sack from a small town in the 1930s. He lives in relative poverty, scraping a living together working for the local hedge clipper factory. He can barely make ends meet to feed and house his family when he get scammed out of the last dollar he had.
His small town has also become enraptured with a new religious beacon. A young deformed boy who says a flood is coming. Harold is having a hard time buying it while everyone else, including his wife, is donating to building an ark.
Hallelujah! is essentially the story of Job. For those who are unfamiliar. Job is a pawn in the bible who becomes the unwilling participant in a bet between god and the devil. God bets the devil that the devil can put Job through any number of hardships and Job will still praise his lord. Because god is an asshole who is cool with human suffering if it wins a bet.
Throughout Hallelujah! Harold experiences the worst days you could imagine. He is hounded by a very scary loan shark and the worst father in law you could think of. He is severely injured numerous times and basically has anything and everything go wrong. All while the town around him encourages him to believe in the strange boy prophet.
The book is well crafted, Harold’s misfortunes are served with an unexpected grace and pacing that would make for the best slap-stick comedy movies. The problem is that Harold is such a pathetic loser I kind of wanted him to just lose completely so his suffering would finally be over.
Hallelujah! is one of those stories that is well written but not necessarily enjoyable to read. It got harder and harder for me to pick up the book to find out what way that wretch Harold would get screwed over next. The poor bastard is an aboslute wreck.
Just as with Job, his faith is tested. However, Harold never had much to begin with so there’s really no award for anyone at the end. God will not congratulate him, neither with the devil. He’s just left alone with the consequences of his actions.
Don’t worry, this novel is not bogged down with religion and is not preachy. I would consider it a dark comedy more than anything. Find the humor in the comedy of errors and hope that Harold learns a lesson somewhere along the way.
3/5 praying hands 🙏🙏🙏
For more small town religion in your fiction check out Goods and Effects
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Buy Hallelujah! by Paul Brad Logan