"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire

Y2K approaches and the town of Thebes spirals into chaos as Mrs. Leontina Scales sustains a head injury that leaves her senseless and her daughter, Tabitha, of questionable morals, takes control of the household. Jeremy Carr, a gay church choir singer, is torn between his past and his future, and left to perform for a convent full of aging nuns.

I loved Gregory Maguire's first step out of the realm of fairy-tales and into that of religious satire and I'm surprised to find I'm one of the few who thought this book earned 5 stars. I think anyone who gave it a rating of two stars or less, doesn't understand satire or is too deeply devout to laugh at themselves. I thought it was fantastic to use humor to bring a bit of reality to light; the constant press for moral conformity in religious groups and the conflicts with the flawed individuals who attend.

I also thought the parallels between Jeremy's long failed relationship with Willem to Tabitha's recently failed relationship with Caleb were nicely drawn. So what if Jeremy's gay and Tabitha's a bit loose? They both loved someone who loved someone else more, and it hurt no matter the sexual orientation. Then look at the nuns growing older and older, locked away from the world, while the young die from accidents and disease... The old are certain of their own upcoming deaths, while the young are certain of their longevity... Proving again that everyday is a gift not a promise.

In between bursts of sarcasm and crazy, GM brings to life the old clich├ęs of living life well and to the fullest... Otherwise the Virgin Mary or Flying Baby Jesus might try to brain you.

Rating: 5/5
Original review date:
Apr 21, 12

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