What would you do if God walked into your living room? Would you dive for cover? Would you try and hide the ash-tray and the empty beer bottles? What would you say? This is the question that faces Sam Walker in Mick Mooney’s new book God’s Grammar. One moment Sam is minding his own business; the next there’s God telling him to breathe and not panic. What follows is a conversation such as Sam could never have imagined.
God’s Grammar is Mick Mooney’s first novel. I always knew that Mick could draw but it wasn’t until I read through to the last page of this riveting book that I realized Mick can also write. This is a brilliant book! I loved it. It took me a little while to get into it but once God showed up midway through the first act, I was hooked.
What’s it about? Sam is a man with a wound. Abandoned at a young age by his father, Sam has grown up with a Fortress in his mind, a place of refuge where no one can hurt him. The problem is the Fortress is inhabited by one very nasty piece of work called the General. The General is everything Sam isn’t – strong, wise, determined. He protects Sam from being hurt again, or so Sam thinks.
Then God shows up and Sam discovers that the Almighty is nothing like he imagined:
Over the years [Sam] had developed his own picture of the Almighty. He envisioned a towering image of strength that cast a constant shadow of judgment over him. He saw the back of an angry, bitter ruler who loathed his lifestyle, rejected his cries, and scorned his infidelities. He saw the outline of a judge who screamed, who burned as he drew his sword against him, a figure like steel that crushed his hopes and condemned his failings, a demanding authority that shook his head in disappointment. He saw a silhouette that caused him to run. A judgmental tyrant. An unfair ruler. A deity he could live without.
The God in the living room is nothing like Sam’s picture. He is kind, generous, even vulnerable. However, his presence awakens old wounds in Sam’s soul. Sam responds to God’s unexpected love by running away to the shelter of the Fortress and the dubious protection of the General. It’s a heartbreaking moment in the story and all seems lost. What will God do? Will God let Sam go? Or will he pursue him across the desert of Sam’s barren soul? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
God’s Grammar is written in the style of The Great Divorce and The Shack. Like The Great Divorce it is a tale of two realities; the one we know and the one we were born for. Like The Shack it challenges your perceptions of God.
God’s Grammar is also a nice complement to So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. That book is for disgruntled churchgoers; this one is for disgruntled people. It’s for those who are looking for a way out of the false-matrix reality of colorless, loveless life.
Like all first novels, God’s Grammar is a little rough in parts but the sheer originality of the story more than compensates for technical hiccups. The narrative is full of gems that make you think, like this one that pops up in the middle of one of Sam’s reflections:
What if the treasure was not something he was being given but something he was losing?
And here’s another, this one from God himself:
To me, art is the whole purpose of life. To live without a desire to be creative, without the motivation to create something from nothing more than your ideas, is to never live at all.
God’s Grammar is an epic journey from the depths of a wounded soul to the heights of healing and love. If you’re a fan of the fiction of C.S. Lewis you’ll enjoy Mick Mooney’s first book. It goes on sale today and hopefully it will be the first of many novels to come.
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