I actually finished this book several weeks ago, but I figured I’d better tie up the loose end from my “Currently:” post before reviewing anything else.

I picked up “The Word” by Irving Wallace in an airport convenience store on the way out to visit my Mom in Atlanta. I picked it up because it mentioned “The DaVinci Code” in a tagline on the cover, because it was a best-seller back in the 70’s, and because it was a suspense novel about Christian revisionism, much like the DaVinci Code (which, you can tell, I enjoyed). But it wasn’t like the DaVinci Code. That’s not a crime in itself, but it really wasn’t that great in any case.

The thing that threw me just a few dozen pages into the book was the graphic sex. Frequent graphic sex. I’m not really a prude – I’m not that opposed to graphic sex in the right kind of books, but it seemed really out of place in a book that spent most of its time philosophizing about Christ and the meaning of life. It was a real distraction, and while I think the goal of its inclusion was to coolify the main character, it made him seem shallow and distractible in my book. “‘This is the most important moment of my life’, Randall thinks as he puts down his copy of the one thing that will unify world religion and give everyone’s life new meaning. ‘Hmm, but I’ve had a few drinks and now I’m horny. I think I’ll go bonk my secretary.” Maybe it was supposed to make him appear more fragile, and more human. Maybe it was just the pre-AIDS mores. It was definitely a distraction.

The book was fairly boring. I had every intention of liking the book, and I really tried to get into it, but it was repetitive and went on for pages and pages into the main character’s thoughts and introduced nothing new or important to the story. Not even important to the character, really, either. I guess that it fleshes out the protagonist and makes him more realistic, but there’s a reason why the Indiana Jones movies don’t stop to show him use the restroom or sleep – it’s boring and unimportant. Between all of these extended reveries, not much happened for a long time. The book was quite long, but I think the same story – perhaps a better story – could have been told in 1/3 the pagecount.

The last 50 or 70 pages of the book were also really anti-climactic. What had actually managed, after much trial and tribulation, to build to a bit of suspense, just kind of fizzled out. Blah. No payoff for all of the effort put into the book.

With all that said, I enjoy reading, and I still give the book a C+ or so, because I did finish it and not just so I could write a review. There were a lot of interesting ideas that weren’t really developed but were worth thinking about. If anyone wants to borrow it, they’re more than welcome to. I won’t even ask for it back.