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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Accidental Pope by Ray Flynn and Robin Moore

You've probably never heard of The Accidental Pope. There's a reason for that. But if you have heard of it, than run far in the opposite direction.
The plot is about a certain New England fisherman named Bill Kelly (what a name) who is chosen to be the next Catholic Pope. The reasoning behind the decision is a heroic act he did for a group of priests one year.
Though Bill Kelly is ordained as a priest, he has been out of service for over a decade because of his marriage and his family. Now his wife is dead and he ready to take the position of papacy.
Before he was elected pope, Bill was a wisecracking fisherman. After being made pope, he becomes a benevolent wisdom-giver. He can quote whole Scripture passages without looking at them, even though he has been out of the church for over a decade.
I always say good dialogue makes good characters, so that means bad dialogue makes bad characters. This theory is exhibited in this book. Bill's dialogue is very formal and unrealistic. Everyone else's is close to the same thing. Everyone is perfect and never makes any mistakes.
There is a villain introduced into the plot who is a newspaper reporter being given information by a covert operative known as Deep Throat Two (real creative there), but he disappears from the plot.
Bill's acts as pope are seemingly pointless, including trips to Africa and giving meaningless lectures.
There are other meaningless parts of the plot, such as his daughter's discovery of the body of the Apostle Paul. She found the grave by falling into it. "What a fortunate find," to quote Pope Bill.
Besides all this, the reader is lost in the sea of unknown Catholic terms. There's no glossary or explanation of them. The reader is just supposed to figure them out.
The author's note is ridiculously unparalleled to Scripture.
Also, if this is supposed to be a Christian book, why is the dialogue littered with expletives and profanity?
There is a an unnecessary, overemphasized, and rushed romantic subplot contained in the plot.
Each chapter is a struggle to finish. It took willpower for me to finish this book.
At the end, the authors preform a desperate attempt to be original, which comes off as cheesy. The end itself is a bad dialogue end, leaving the reader completely in the dark.
Need I go on?
1/2 star

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