Thursday, May 23, 2013

God, No! By Penn Jillette

I have been listening to the audiobook of God, No! for the past week on my drives to and from work. It is wonderful. Penn does his own reading, which MAKES the book. I can't imagine anyone else being able to deliver his material. Penn's reading is so casual and animated, you can imagine you are sitting across from him at a pub while he dominates the conversation. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. I have never seen his magic show, but if he does sleight of hand half as well as he spins a yarn - it must be something to see.

Penn weaves in and out of religion and atheism, often just sharing an amusing personal story to highlight a life lesson. His vocabulary and mode of speech is often joyously crass as he explains his passions, however, you never doubt this man has a heart of gold. Still, Penn says fuck and cocksucker with such wild abandon that I make sure I am a fair distance from school before pressing play.

One part that particularly caught me was as he told the story of a Hasidic Jew turned atheist he met after the show. The man wanted Penn to help him lose his Kosher "virginity" by joining him for a bacon cheeseburger. Penn went on to talk about their friendship and some of his insights into the Hasidic faith. Though he could list a hundred things wrong with Hasidic Judaism, he did say that he -nevertheless- was envious of their community. I could relate - I feel that way about Mormonism. I am clear on all the points of disagreement I have with their faith, nevertheless, I find their community downright enviable.

Penn shares tales about performing magic, getting naked in zero gravity, being spurned in a gay bathhouse, and his love of women with tattoos and artificial breasts. Wit and wisdom are woven through his stories to create hours of entertainment and ideas with which to wrestle.

During various staff and class "get to know you" games, I often hear "If you could have dinner with one celebrity, who would it be?" After listening to this book, I would answer Penn Jillette!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Great book! I read this back to back with Sarah Silverman's book Bedwetter. I spent a lot of time laughing during that time. Crass, hilarious and atheist. :)

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