Read It: The Testament of Mary

I don’t spend much of my time reading anything related directly to any sort of organized faith. I picked this one up because of it being on the ‘2013 Man Booker Longlist’. It was also an easy one to knock off the list since it is fairly short. Even with all of that, I’ve read worse than this. It had its problems but made the Jesus story somewhat understandable.

It was a very short book. In one way, I liked it. As I said, I’m not a big fan of religious books. So, the fact that it was short was nice for me. I wouldn’t have to spend endless hours on a beaten to death story of one man who may or may not have even existed and still has control over millions and millions of people. In another way, if I was religious I would definitely think it was way too short. It’s a complex story, or a story made complex, when all the lore is put together. It should have had more detail and heart for such a sensitive topic. I know its only from Mary’s point of view but I have read books from grieving mothers and they could talk endlessly about their children or at the very least how they felt about their children and what happened to their children. At the very least, this is a story about a mother grieving a child. If an author is going to write a story about that type of relationship with a horrific outcome, then more should be said or at least felt through the words used. So, for me it was long enough but the story could have benefited from a longer one.

The mysterious characters of the bible are written as very unlikeable people. They’re self-absorbed and magical figures. Their personalities are not solid either. Mary has a weird perception of the world without faith in her son. All of this was very unexpected in what I knew about the story of Jesus.

Based on my memory, the traditional story of Jesus and this book had a lot of differences between them. His conception, his childhood, his adulthood, some bits of his death. I’m assuming it’s because this book is through the eyes of Mary and the story is bent through her perception. I think if it wasn’t such an ingrained story it would have been better. However, it is a deeply rooted story of the christian faith, as far as I remember it. This new version of events may not go over well with some.

I enjoyed it as much as I could being what it is. Others may enjoy it less or more based on the length, the character changes, and the changes in the story. For me, it was a quick and easy read. Although, I don’t really think I’ll ever recommend it to anyone.

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