I must admit to being skeptical when I first read the description of this book. I’m not a big fan of fiction and I’m not religious, but I have to admit the idea of interviewing Jesus Christ in the present day caught my attention. I’m glad it did. This novel has its faults, but overall it kept my attention throughout and, more importantly, made me think about some of the ‘big questions’ in life.
The Christ figure is presented as completely human. His thoughts and beliefs, as seen through the author’s eyes, are a mixture of research and conjecture. The conjecture is the fun part. The author has a unique voice – he drew me into the story and most of the dialogue sounded believable. It made me think what I would do if I really had the chance to interview Jesus Christ (who the narrator calls ‘Joshua’ for reasons he describes early on in the book). The first meeting between the narrator and the Christ figure is hilarious. As their relationship develops, it becomes evident that the narrator’s life is changing as a result of ‘hanging out’ with Christ. It really is a personal transformation story that anyone can relate to and learn from.
Most Christians I know personally may not like this novel. It really pokes fun at sacred cows, not only in the Christian tradition but all religions. Christ is not a big fan of religion. The narrator asks him all the ‘big’ questions: What is the meaning of life? What’s God really like? Was Christ tempted by attractive women? Was he mom really a virgin? Spielmann handles some delicate issues with humor and wonder. The back cover of The Interview tells the reader that he has a B.A. in biblical Literature, knows Greek, and was once an Evangelical Christian. It shows. While he uses vulgar language throughout the novel, it’s not gratuitous and actually makes the dialogue more real, at least to me.
The Interview has both interview questions/responses and also time travel scenes where Christ decides to take the narrator back to first century Palestine so that he can show him what really happened rather than merely telling him about it. Pretty fun stuff. There is a lot of humor in this novel and some subtle references to pop culture (TV shows, literature, movies, and celebrity personalities). During the interview itself Christ takes on topics such as the Bible, gay marriage, women, the afterlife, the meaning of life, what God is really like, and so on.
I recommend this book to people who are wondering about who this guy Jesus really was. If you can get past the idea that he drinks beer, smokes pot, struggles with temptation, has doubts and prejudices (kind of like all of us...), then you’ll probably really like this novel. Reading it was both fun and thought-provoking. It’s probably not for everyone, but you’ll have to decide that for yourself.