This is a fantastically spot on book showing the Life and Religious temperament of the 80's South. Mark takes a "memoir" of his life and turns it into entertaining storytelling. You forget that he is actually telling us about his youth in the South, that it isn't simply a witty novel about trying to survive your angst-filled years.
Given that I am most definitely a girl who was raised in this same time and place, I related to this book from page one. The horror of not being "saved", the anguish of possible damnation because my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans were too tight, the hope that the slow song at the dance would last a really long time and that I wouldn't have to pray about it Sunday morning in Church.
I laughed, nodded, smirked and nodded again as I read through the story of his need to fit in, have fun, find a hot girl, and not go to hell because of it all. Mark has a great flow to his style of writing that rambles easily through the story and into your mind in a pleasing manner.
I most definitely recommend this novel.
Click HERE to download the first chapter.
Hub City Press
April 1, 2016
When the deacons at Mark Beaver’s Bible Belt church cue up an
evangelical horror flick aimed at dramatizing Hell, he figures he’d
better get right with God, and soon. Convinced he could die at age seven
and spend eternity roasting on a spit in the fiery furnace of Hades, he
promptly gets Saved. But once the ’80s and his adolescence hit, the
Straight and Narrow becomes a tight squeeze.
offers more than a look inside the Southern Baptist religion circa
Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority—it’s a tale of faith and flesh.
Beaver invites us into a world filled with Daisy Duke fantasies and
Prince posters, Nerf Hoops and Atari joysticks, raggedy Camaros and the
neon light of strip malls.
As much about the adolescent heart as the
evangelical mind, the story explores similar emotional terrain as
coming-of-age classics like Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life and Mary Karr's Cherry. Suburban Gospel is a tale of growing up Baptist, all right—but also of just growing up.