Tuesday, November 12, 2013


by Ron Koertge
Candlewick, 2013

A Book Review by Bigfoot

Let’s imagine something terrible happens. This terrible happening makes you feel sad, guilty, and confused. I’m not talking about your average everyday frustration, like forgetting to use deodorant on gym day or dropping your phone in the toilet. I’m talking crushing, hit-you-like-a-band-of-gorillas, question-the-point-of-everything terrible.

For your average everyday frustration, a glazed donut might cheer you up a bit. It does me. But for those really terrible happenings, donuts aren’t going to cut it. You need somebody to talk to. A good listener. A compassionate and empathetic guide. A sense of humor wouldn’t hurt either. And to answer those big “why” questions, it would be nice if your new confidante is in the know.

You could do worse than Jesus.

After the death of his brother, Walker is visited by Jesus. Jesus is patient, understanding, and kind—he’s basically everything you’d hope Jesus would be if he showed up unexpectedly and started hanging out with you. He’s also kind of a smart aleck.

Walker and his mother are having trouble coping with their loss. Mixed in with Walker’s grief is a heavy dose of guilt, although the reason behind it isn’t revealed at first. With gentle coaxing and humor, Jesus helps Walker acknowledge the guilt and move past it. Jesus may not give Walker pat answers to his big “why” questions, but he helps Walker get back to living.

COALTOWN JESUS is a short poetry novel. It won’t take you long to read, but it’ll take you an eternity to forget. If you’re ever faced with a terrible happening (or even a bunch of discouraging everyday frustrations) that has you questioning the meaning of it all and searching for reassurance, you could do worse than COALTOWN JESUS.

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