Children of God by Craig Dilouie and Jonathan Moon
Zing Communications (May 2016)
148 pages; $9.99 paperback; ebook $2.99
Reviewed by Anton Cancre
Cults are fascinating; the tragedy which follows so many of them doubly so. We sit on the outside, talking about how crazy those people must be. When all we see is the smoke and the bodies and the ramblings of their leaders, it is easy to disassociate ourselves.
That, right there, is the thing that Jonathan Moon and Craig Dilouie get so right with this collection of poetic artifacts from the creation, rise and implosion of the fictional Family of God. Each piece is personal, a glimpse into the mind and soul of the specific narrator. Ex-cons, ex-prostitutes, depressed grandmothers, joyous musicians and children, each sharing themselves and their lives through this experience. The focus is on the humanity of it all, the hope and the promise and the confused despair when it all falls apart. All of that safe “never me” mentality is slowly stripped away and replaced with an honest attempt to understand and empathize. This is what I came to the party for.
Here’s the down side: That damn intro and the character descriptions. The first fifth of the book is comprised of a far-too-long description of the history of the Family of God and character information which simply are not needed. The poems did a good job of speaking for themselves and giving me what I needed to know what was happening. I felt like the authors thought I was too stupid to follow it without their hand-holding, and I don’t really like being called stupid. I also had a problem with the presence of Toby, the requisite “magical retard.” This character type and presentation always aggravates me with the condescending attitude toward the neuroatypical, and he wasn’t even used to any real effect beyond the standard “see how clearly the simple minded actually see things.” And could someone please tell me how Ariel got to be such an erudite toddler, discussing the pleasing chill of the desert wind and how it was all for naught?