The Dirty Parts Of The Bible
Author: Sam Torode
It's 1936, during the period that would eventually be known as the Great Depression. Main character Tobias is the son (and only child -- you'll know why in the first couple of paragraphs) of a Baptist preacher in a small Michigan town. Tobias only thinks about two things: girls and religion (mostly girls) . . . and he has a wonderful imagination.
When a series of ironic events leads to the Reverend losing his job, Tobias sets out to save the family by returning to his father's home in Texas to retrieve some money his father secretly hid there many years ago. But first he has to get to Texas, and the journey is a huge part of this coming-of-age story.
Things start out well enough as Tobias rides the train to Chicago. But when he gets to the Windy City, he realizes his own unsophistication. I don't want to give away too much, but there are encounters with all sorts of people. When an innocent split-second decision leaves him broke, he decides to continue his journey anyway. Meeting up with some hobos, he hops a southbound train and yet another journey begins as one of the hobos, Craw, teaches him what it's like to live as a "free" man.
Craw ends up becoming a mentor and friend, despite their age and other differences. Eventually they make it to the family farm in Texas, where they both get jobs as farm hands. Tobias finds that he blends in better with his uncle's family than with his own. There's a funny family reunion scene involving Grandma and Craw, and there's this really cute girl named Sarah. That's really all I want to say in terms of plot.
In short, The Dirty Parts of the Bible -- aside from having one of the coolest titles ever -- is one of my favorite books of the year. It's definitely the best 0.96 cents I've spent in a long, long time.