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Rating:4/5

If you’re agnostic, atheist or belong to a non-Abrahamic religion, DO NOT gloss over this post just yet. I know I might as well put up a post reviewing the bible. But fear not, author A.J.Jacobs is agnostic. Intriguing, no?

Jacobs is a New Yorker, seeking an understanding of religion in a secular world. N.B. I say religion and not God. Ethnically Jewish, Jacobs is on a discovery journey of his culture and history. In trying to explore the less popular laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, Jacobs’ journal brings about much laughs and thought provoking reflection. To amp up the funny, Jacobs takes the laws of the bible literally (e.g. Stoning adulterers and avoiding women during their monthly cycles). Balancing the funny are his encounters with religious leaders, the religious and the secular, be it in the form of family, friends or perfect strangers. The relationships forged are spiced with religious forethought and can have pretty surprising and heartwarming effects. His actions help believers and non-believers question the inherent value of religious tradition and why some still stick on. Is there room for such odd beliefs in the modern world? Is tradition and law a subset of religion, and religion, God?

In this hilarious and moving recount, I cannot help but reflect on this community I have been born, raised and free-willingly accepted. Whether you’re reading this book for laughs or entertainment, I promise there is a takeaway from this honest journal. 

And can we take some time to appreciate the beard. You should read this book because, of

  1. Jacobs’ dedication to grow a whole year’s worth of facial hair. Hello dedication.
  2. Jacobs lives in NYC. Think awkward stares which accompany the unsaid, “Is he a terrorist?”
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