Friday, August 6, 2010

Would You Do What a Fortune Cookie Tells You?

I just finished Adam Langer's The Thieves of Manhattan, in which an editor advises a young author to always imagine "what if...?" when he writes. That advice seemed to apply to the next book I read, Geoffrey Wood's novel, The God Cookie. What if God gave you instructions in a fortune cookie? In the opening scene, coffee shop owner John Parrish opens his cookie;
"In simple black type, his fortune reads: TAKE THE CORNER." (p.31) Not a conventional fortune, he thinks, especially considering that he has just been thinking about whether God speaks to people, but they just don't listen, and he has promised, in the Chinese restaurant washroom, "Okay, God...I'm all in." (p.23) Parrish takes the matter to his best friends, slacker employees Duncan and Mason, and there follows a typical dialogue among the three twenty-something friends.
"All I'm saying is, as sentences from God go," Mason clarified, "it's a very short, not very informative sentence."
"He didn't have scads of room," said Duncan.
"God couldn't write on the back? Use a smaller font?" (p.35)
Several pages later, the men discover the cookie was made in New Jersey.
"Isn't that the Godforsaken State?"
"Garden State."
"Oh, right." (p.37)
I could have just said that the author has a way with snappy dialogue and an ear for the way hip twenty-somethings might interact, but I thought it would be better just to give a sample from the book. I also felt as though I wanted to interrupt their meandering musings about, for example, why golf balls have dents and join right in, without actually verifying the facts of course. It's bar talk, only in a coffee bar, and no one Googles for the answer on their Iphone because that would ruin the fun of arguing.
New Jersey Fortune Cookie by ASdeF
Parrish decides to "take the corner" and see where it leads him. It takes him to the corner bus stop, to several people who are waiting there, into their lives and ultimately on a journey of discovery about himself and his faith in God.

Related links: video of Geoffrey Wood
Interview with Geoffrey Wood
If you like this book, you might like
The Shack by William P. Young; The Alchemist by Paul Coelho; Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen.

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