A Very Minor Prophet Is The Story Of How Barth Flynn, A Barista Swimming Upstream Against Purposelessness In Portland, Oregon, Becomes The Faithful Scribe Of Joseph Patrick Booker Booker Is A Dwarf Preacher Who Serves Voodoo Donuts, Stumptown Coffee, And, While His Congregation Throws PBR Cans At Him, Rants About George W Bush During The Height Of The Presidential Election Barth S Portland Is A World Of Bikes, Zines, And Cheap Beer, But It S Also A Confined World, Full Of The Desperate Search To Find Meaning In This Lonely Setting, Barth Passes Time Learning Trivial Details, Like The Dozens Of Gaelic Words For Rain During Barth S Quest For Human Connection, He Meets The Passionate Booker, Who Sees Light In The Gray World And Strives To Help People Think And Believe In Something And To Find Connections With Each OtherBarth S Fascination With Booker Becomes A Friendship That Comes To Define His Life, As He Discovers Himself, His City, And His Budding Feelings For An Enigmatic Bike Messenger Who Helps Distribute Booker S Gospel In The Form Of Zines A Very Minor Prophet Is A Comic Novel, A Gospel, An Ode To Great Coffee, A Story Of Great Friendship, Great Love, And Of A Man Waking Up In Portland, Oregon, To Realize His Life And His Story Is Just Beginning I ve long been a fan of Portland, and made it no secret that I d very much like to live there.The first time I went there, maybe 2006 , the city felt, to me, like the city in this book Really weird, really great, and somewhere you could just sort of stumble into this weirdness.I think it still feels like that Somewhat I don t live there, but I ve been 4 or 5 times since, and every time I go, I find a different reason to love it.Also, this book is by Hawthorne, and I have to say, EVERY title I ve read from Hawthorne, I ve liked quite a bit This is a publisher that s doing what I would love other publishers to do, which is being distinctive and choosy in what they publish, and therefore I can just look through what they ve got and make my picks from their catalog I don t know many other publishers where I can say that It s not like Random House can do that for me, or even Anchor Books any I quite liked Dennis Cooper s Little House On The Bowery But Hawthorne is the only one, for me, where I could honestly say, If you want to buy me a book, buy me one I haven t read from Hawthorne, and chances are it ll be pretty damn good This particular book has a very early 2000 s thing going, and it s good, but it made me wish I d read it in 2007 I would have fucking loved this book so hard in 2007.Anyway, Portland.I m planning a move Sorry, Portland I know you re sick of people moving there and making the rent high and stuff If it makes you feel better, I don t have a lot of money, but I do work And Colorado is kind of the OG state that people have been fleeing to since the early 90 s Back then, half the people you met were from California Now you get people from all the fuck over And it s awesome, but there s also a lot of hassle I get that.Here in Colorado, there s this bumper sticker people put on their cars Trucks, I should say It has the background from Colorado license plates, those green mountains, and it has the word NATIVE emblazoned across it There s the obvious joke there Most of the people who have that sticker look a little pale to be original native inhabitants of the area.But what s really stupid about it, to me, is that people are so proud of something they had nothing to do with Your parents fucked in Colorado and never left Wow Definitely worth buying a sticker for In fact, maybe we should all get stickers that say where our parents fucked All the places If your parents fucked and vacationed a lot, you re going to need one of those RV maps of the US with the outlines of different states And just set up a system where your parents can text you the name of a state, and you buy the stickers No further questions needed.I guess I always thought it meant for someone to pick a place to live To make a choice To check some places out and say, This This feels right to me That s what I did.The good news is that leaves open a NATIVE spot I ll be taking applications for my replacement Just know that if you moved here because weed is legal, your application will be rejected Also if you show up in a Broncos jersey And if most of your daily clothing choices are Hiking Casual, you need not apply, thanks.I think I ve already talked quite a bit about what I like about Portland But should I share what I don t like about Colorado Transportation is fucked Seriously There s basically 1 interstate the entire state uses, and it s jammed every day 1 accident fucks up the whole thing And there are no alternatives It s not super bike friendly, although it s improving, and the buses suck, and the trains are almost non existent You cannot get by here without a car It s just not possible, and I don t like that.2 It s Pretty Expensive.People have asked about the plans for my move There s this really nifty map that tells you how far 100 bucks goes in different spots You can even break it down by metropolitan area, and in simple terms, a hundred bucks is worth about 102 in the place where I live, 99 in Portland 3 out of every 100 That seems well worth it to make the switch, especially considering that I d be moving form a suburban area to a city If you re curious, North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Mississippi all non metropolitan seem to be the spots where a buck goes the furthest I have no strong desire for those spots.3 The fucking sun.I m over the sun I don t get it I don t get the big appeal It s nice, but it s not nice EVERY FUCKING DAY You d think that, when the sun s gone for a day here, people were like reverse vampires who need the sun to live Denver has like 30 40 overcast days per year It s sunnier than Florida And by the way, we re a mile closer to the sun, which you would think makes no difference, but it s a HUGE difference The sun sucks Screw the sun You get burned bad here, the sun makes it impossible to know what the fuck temperature it is outside, and when the sun is gone for like half a day, the amount of bitching is unbearable In short Where is my Mr Burns and why hasn t he blocked out the sun yet 4 People like guns too much here.I know it s worse elsewhere But I m done with this guns nonsense Colorado isn t a super population dense state, and yet we re home to Columbine, the Aurora Theater Shooting, and recently the Planned Parenthood shooting And still, people love telling you about how important guns and the 2nd amendment are Fuck off.5 Powell s Rules, Tattered Cover DroolsI loved you, TC, but nothing compares And that LoDo store feels like it s shrinking WHILE I m inside it, like it s that hallway from Willy Wonka 6 Rural cops and city cops are jerks in totally different ways, and we get to experience both at their worst.7 I don t ski I used to But that shit s for rich people Damn, a 1 day lift ticket in Vail is 130 bucks Then I rent skis and boots for 50 Then I spend about 5 hours on the road, minimum, if there s no traffic And there s always traffic Then you pay to park Then you eat a gas station sandwich that costs three times what it should I mean, that s like a 250 day right there, per person, and you spent 5 hours in traffic for the privilege You could fly to another city and spend the night for that hassle.8 Boulder isn t cool I m sorry, it s not I ve never seen such a naked display of attention seeking as I have walking down Pearl Street in Boulder I ve never seen such a stark example of rich kids trying to look cool It s gross If you ve ever wanted to see the corpse of the dream of the hippie movement, Boulder, Colorado is where people go to piss on the ashes and drape them in a Bob Marley fabric poster.9 Seriously, with the lifted trucks that roll coal and have nothing in the bed 10 My parents fucked here minimum once, maximum infinity times I, for one, choose to distance myself from that as opposed to marking the occasion s with a sticker. Ah heck, I m just going to say it is it possible for a half novel, half zine about the vagrants and vagiaries of Portland, OR to take a shot at literature This is the first, and only, book of this nature wild, zaney, hopped up on caffiene , I have ever read and liked I would place it with A Confederacy of Dunces and Fierce Invalids from Hot Climates neither of which I could finish This book is worth the read.Just a side note, it helps to be able to take every single character in A Very Minor Prophet dead serious, and give them long, long, leashes You don t even have to drink Stumptown or eat Voodoo Doughnuts to enjoy In the end the writing stays true to itself and Frost s vision pushes me as a reader to think about things in a slightly different slant of light. Excellent style This book delves into some timely political topics It takes a religious perspective and turns it on it s head in a unique way. This book started out slow for me Initially, I felt like it relied too much on the concept of Yeah, we are going to make certain pages look like a zine It will be really cool Except it really wasn t No than most zines or hipsters are cool for trying so hard to be different than everyone else Ultimately, all books fall back on characters, setting, and plot When the book got back to those basics, it got a lot better and the book was a lot easier to read The zine idea works best within the conception of better explaining the story When it isn t doing that, it reads like another meaningless rant that you had seen earlier in the book.There were also a couple of character decision that felt unnatural to me, yet had to happen within the plot They just didn t seem set up well to where they made sense.It was a great idea, and parts of this book really shine Other parts, for me, are all style and no substance, a lot like some of the hipster culture it immortalizes I would give this book a 3.5, but I think it had the potential to be a lot better than that. Man I wanted to like this book than I did I really enjoyed the essays about history and the evolution of the Bible and Christianity I also got into the message that cynicism and irony are easy rather than the natural disposition of the intelligent Instead, the book challenges the reader presumably a jaded Portlander to consider that sincerity and optimism are states to aspire to rather than snicker at.Also interesting was midget preacher Booker s xplanation that early Christianity was basically a bunch of over educated under employed freaks hanging around in the desert talking He argues that the counter culture cyclists and baristas and sx workers of Portland are in line with traditional Christian teachings than any church full of upstanding citizens.The story surrounding these sermons is compelling as well.There were two things working against the book One is that it often seemed like it was weird for weirdness sake ala bizarro fiction The other is that the author often veered into pandering territory with the Portland setting Portland is a self obsessed city but I imagine even the proudest native would roll their eyes after awhile Yes, okay, Voodoo Donuts and Stumptown coffee Yes everyone writes zines Yes I recognize the streets they are on and that shop you just mentioned I get that we are in awesome Portland already can we get on with the story I wish that the sermons could be extracted and sold separately as a stand alone essay I would rate that as a must read if it existed. I don t like that cover at all, and I don t think I know anything about Hawthorne books, and this sounds a bit like a hacky slacker melodrama and not very dissimilar from The Gospel of Anarchy, with the minor swap of Portland for Florida but then there s this, from the Hey Small Press book list, which makes me sort of maybe reconsider all those other things James Bernard Frost s marvelous book is somewhere between a zine, a novel, and a religious gospel Set in Portland, Oregon in the middle of the Bush years 2004 , Frost tells the tale of a young man who falls in with a motley crew of messianic hard drinking bike punk zine makers It s a wild story drenched in Stumptown coffee and beer. Although I enjoyed AVMP immensely I couldn t bring myself to give it 4 stars although it is closer to a 4 than it is to a 3.The details of Portland life were wonderful and reminded me of A Confederacy of Dunces by Toole.The angst of the twenty somethings was believable and reminded me of Generation X by Coupland.The idea of a prophet among us was well done and reminded me of Irving s A Prayer for Owen Meaney.The comedic details, characters and plot twists were well handled and reminded me of everything written by Tom Robbins.In the end I suppose that was my biggest problem with the book that it all reminded me of some other great author I do look forward to the next novel that Frost writes, and I hope he can find his own voice in there. More, please, James Bernard Frost. A dwarf preacher and 22 year old barista hang out in Portland, drink coffee, try to get back to the roots of Christianity, eat voodoo doughnuts, go on bike rides, make zines, fail in love, succeed in love, and other stuff I thought it was interesting in parts the day to day life of someone with an art degree that doesn t get them far and the frustration that brings is familiar to me but I wanted from this book that it couldn t deliver The criticisms of Christianity were nothing new and the new way that the dwarf preacher suggested wasn t compelling enough for me to love this book But it was neat to have the mix of zine and text somewhat worth reading.