Before writing this, I did something I’ve never done before previous book reviews: I looked online for other reviews of the same book. That’s because I was hoping to find more synonyms for the word “vile”. It isn’t the book that’s vile, it’s the main character. “Character” isn’t exactly the word; this is non-fiction.
The setting: Kitsap County in Washington State, which includes the city of Bremerton, and an island in Puget Sound between Bremerton and Seattle called Bainbridge Island. On Bainbridge Island, there was a little church called Christ Community Church, which started out as an affiliate of the Assemblies of God. Now we must pause for a moment to discuss Fakename’s religious beliefs.
Okay, I’m glad we got that out of the way. So I may not be the best person to judge how seriously awry things can go when religion is involved, but I will say that I believe not all religions are created equally. For instance there is the guy who rides a peacock. (I heard of him from the other book I read this week, House Rules, by Jody Picoult–an excellent book.)
In any case, the out-there religions always seem to have a serious sexual sublimation thing going on. That whole thing of being possessed by the Holy Spirit. Riding peacocks.
(Look out for that cobra.)
So to make a long story short, our anti-hero is a guy named Nick Hacheney, who is the youth pastor for the church. Then he either volunteers or is assigned to do couples counseling, which is the ultimate fox/henhouse scenario. Discord and chaos follow wherever he goes. Then tragedy strikes…his own young wife dies in a house fire on the morning after Christmas Day in 1997, while he is away duck-hunting with the senior pastor and the senior pastor’s youngest daughter.
Nick then proceeds to fuck his way through the female population of the church, beginning only days after his wife’s death. Please pardon the language, but no other word seems to quite do the trick. Being that he’s fat and ugly, it’s amazing that he gets away with it.
Five years after his wife’s death (talk about condensing a book–I ought to be hired by Reader’s Digest), he’s convicted of murder and arson. The arson conviction is eventually overturned, which means he is eligible for parole in 2025.
So, how did he get away with blazing his path of destruction through the women of the church? Here is Fakename’s theory of the crime (and we are skipping their vulnerability and his sociopathy): he needed a hook. With one exception–he was already having an affair before the death of his wife–he needed a way into the hearts (and pants) of the women he knew. Had he tried it while his wife was alive, he would have been just your average run-of-the-mill sleazebag and adulterer. But afterwards, he was Mr. Sad Eyes. He was suffering so terribly. He needed emotional and physical comfort. He claimed to be as mystified as the women were by his need. He could only conclude that God wanted him to do it. Of course, God wanted them to do it too. Talk about a pick-up line.
One of the women was his mother-in-law. How repulsive is that? Last week, I mentioned that reading The Politician, about John Edwards, made me want to keep washing my hands. Reading this one made me want to find a decontamination chamber.
Twisted was a good choice of words.