The Gospel According To Larry by Janet Tashjian

It’s always interesting to me when I like a book, but dislike the main character(s). The Gospel According To Larry is the perfect example of this. I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading, but I kept waiting to like Josh more. I’ve included the publisher’s description below, but be aware it contains spoilers, as does the back of the paperback version. That really robbed me of the great reveal, a third of the way in.

I’d be interested to know what other books have compelled you at the same time the protagonist repels you.


Josh Swensen is not your average 17-year-old. At the age of two, he was figuring out algebraic equations with colored magnetic numbers. He is a prodigy who only wants to make the world a better place. Josh’s wish comes true when his virtual alter ego, Larry, becomes a huge media sensation. Larry has his own Web site where he posts sermons on anti-consumerism and has a large following of adults and teens. Meanwhile, Larry’s identity is a mystery to everyone. While it seems as if the whole world is trying to figure out Larry’s true identity, Josh feels trapped inside his own creation. What will happen to the world, and to Larry, if he is exposed?

Recent Comments

  • Hope Vestergaard
    March 25, 2008 - 7:55 pm · Reply

    I liked the book you’re talking about, too, Katie. And, er, um, hem, haw, I’m thinking that the statement you make about not liking the character but finding the book compelling…sounds a bit like your feedback on my ms you just read!

    Not that it’s all about me, of course, but this is such an interesting aspect of getting feedback. It’s almost like some kind of inkblot test. You aren’t the only one to say my MC was less than loveable, but my entire in-person crit group loved him. That said, one of them hated what he did because she didn’t want to believe that such a good kid would do such an awful thing. She actually said she was disappointed in him. And I think that reflected on that person’s inherent goodness, but as the writer, I also thought it was a good reaction. I think kids are complicated. As a reader, I like unpredictable characters. They have to be believable, of course, but I love reasonable surprises.

    Another book with a loathesome but strangely endearing MC is David Yoo’s Girls For Breakfast.

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