Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos



Summary: What does a transformed life actually look like?
In his follow-up to the critically acclaimed
Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos tackles this question in an entertaining and thought-provoking way—with MONSTERS!!! While Christians claim to experience Christ’s resurrection power, we sometimes act like werewolves who can’t control our base desires. Or zombies, experiencing a resurrection that is 90 percent shambling death and 10 percent life. Or vampires, satiating ourselves at the expense of others. But through it all we long to stop being monsters and become truly human—the way Christ intended. We just can’t seem to figure out how.
Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of Luther, a werewolf on the run, whose inner beast has driven him dangerously close to losing everything that matters. Desperate to conquer his dark side, Luther joins forces with Matt to find someone who can help. Yet their time is running out. A powerful and mysterious man is on their trail, determined to kill the wolf at all costs . . .

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking,
Night of the Living Dead Christian is a spiritual allegory that boldly explores the monstrous underpinnings of our nature and tackles head-on the question of how we can ever hope to become truly transformed.

My Thoughts: Vampires, werewolves, and zombies...Oh My! In Night of the Living Dead Christians, Matt Mikalatos uses these fantastical creatures to show us how we often live as these monsters. He doesn't do this by writing a treatise on "the monsters inside us" and how to get rid of them. Oh no, he's much too creative for that. Instead, he takes us on a fictional (?) ride through his neighborhood as he tries to help his neighbor, the werewolf otherwise known as Luther Martin.

The quirky, sometimes snarky humor is right up my alley and I found myself laughing out loud and reading bits and pieces aloud to whomever was in the room. One of my favorites is when they visit a church full of zombies who suddenly break into song and dance.

It's not me who wants your brain
So you'll never think again,
Never wrestle with moral choices
Or regret your raised voices!
Oh there's only one thing that will please us-


(here all the zombies joined in an impressive multipart harmony.)

And that's to give your brain to Jeeeeezuuuuuuuus!

Bokor leaned toward me and sang, "Oh, with sin you won't be messin'," and then he raised his eyebrows at me.

I grinned and sang, "If you never have a question!"

"Right! So it would be smart to give Jesus that special part!"

I sang, "'Cause Jesus wants my brain, not my heart!"

And that, I think, is right about the moment that Luther grabbed me and threw me through the plate glass window.


The complete scene was written in a way that played visually across my mind and had me cracking up and nodding my head at the same time. I remember my own zombie days and I'm glad to be out from under them. But was I free to laugh at all the monsters in the book without recognizing myself in any of them? Nope.

By the end of the story, I was in tears. The message comes through in a crazy, quirky format that is unlike any other book I have ever read (other than the author's first book, Imaginary Jesus) and will stay with me longer than a dry "How-To" book ever would. The visual of a transformed creature tying his old werewolf pelt to him is haunting and powerful. The recognition of the monster lurking in the author hit too close to home. The book was a fun read in many ways, but also challenging. As we join in "one man's ferociously funny quest to discover what it means to be truly transformed", we just may find ourselves discovering the secret to being transformed as well. See you in the fire.

Night of the Living Dead Christian is available at your favorite online or local bookstore. I would highly recommend reading Imaginary Jesus first, as this is both an excellent read and a great introduction to the author's style.



*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale, for review purposes. A positive review was not required, merely an honest one.*

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