Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review of 'You Got to Be Kidding', by Joe Wenke

You Got To Be Kidding

Why did God turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt? Were there no other seasonings available? Why don't we know anything about the early years of Jesus? Did someone lose his baby book? Who reported the desert encounter between Jesus and Satan? Jesus-or Satan? And why does the Holy Spirit like to show up as a bird?

As irreverent as the musical The Book of Mormon, Joe Wenke's YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING: The Cultural Arsonist's Literal Reading of the Bible is an engaging, provocative and hilarious investigation into the bestselling book of all time. Written to "cause trouble" cultural arsonist Wenke, a keen observer of human gullibility, tempts readers to more closely examine the stories they think they know about the Bible.

Drawing upon the same pool of incendiary and cerebral humor as Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and the late, great George Carlin, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING is a call for humor to restore our sanity and our ability to think for ourselves. Just as it was written in the Bible-or was it?

Published October 1st 2012 by Trans Über LLC  

Lily's Rating:


I grew up Roman Catholic, yet with a very strong mind of my own. Though I enjoyed many stories of the Bible, even from a young age I did question the stories myself, and found them more entertaining than anything else.

I am armed with a great sense of humour that ranges from sarcastic, to dirty, and just plain fun so I thought this book would be for me. I would certainly not be the type of Catholic that would read this and be offended or act indignant that someone dared to poke fun at one of the most powerful and best selling books of all history.

As I began this novel, I was truly delighted. The author's poking of fun at the Adam and Eve story, and some of Genesis had me literally laughing out loud. But that didn't really last.

Soon after, my love of this book began to decline rapidly as I found much repetition in what I can only describe as angry sounding rants. The tone changed to arrogance, anger and almost felt preachy to me, which I found to be ironic. There were still some redeeming funny moments scattered throughout the remainder of this novel, but not enough to elevate my rating past the two stars that I ended up giving it. In fact, I was glad this book was under 200 pages, as I also began to feel quite bored. Even the insertion of foul language didn't amuse me. On the contrary, I found it misplaced and unnecessary.

There was nothing really new and shocking in this book. No life-altering questions asked. In fact, I found some of the question posed to be a little silly at times.  I understand what the author was trying to achieve, and that he was exploring these stories in a literal sense, but the delivery was overall lacking in holding my interest and failed to sustain the level of humour achieved at its beginning.

That being said, I do commend the author for undertaking such a project that I am sure runs the risk of not being well received by a large group of readers, or outright avoided. I enjoy having my thoughts challenged to think outside the box.  Unfortunately, this really wasn't one of those works, though I must say that the first 15% was extremely amusing and enjoyable and worth the investment of reading this.

*I received a eBook copy of this book for free to review from the publisher via Netgalley; this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.*

Purchase Links:

About the Author:
(bio from

Joe Wenke was born the oldest of eleven children in a strict Catholic family in South Philadelphia and attended a long line of Catholic schools including the University of Notre Dame where he received a B.A. in English. He received an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut. A former corporate speechwriter, he is the owner of a leading event marketing company.


  1. So is it worth $4.99 or should I hope that the library will carry it at some point? I have no problem investing the time. The money- that's a different story.

    I am also Catholic and love the idea of these kinds of books. I read one about why atheists are so angry and was really looking forward to it. But the book was truly disappointing. Condescension and anger just turn me off and these authors seem incapable of refraining from it, even if they start out well.

    If you have suggestions of any other authors who cover this topic better, please share!

    1. Hi Christina,

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting! :)

      Well I have to be honest... If I had not yet read this novel, I may have been tempted to pay the price tag. After reading it, I am not so sure. But that is my personal opinion. There are quite a few reviews on this novel of readers that did enjoy this a lot more than I did, and may advise differently.

      My boredom resided in the constant repetition of statements already made in previous pages. And for me, the author's tone changed as the novel progressed, from being outright funny to being a little too rant-like for my taste.

      I haven't read any other similar works so I can't really suggest any other similar reads at this point, but after reading this one I would be inclined to seek out other books similar in content to see if I find one that will amuse me a lot more than this one did. So keep an eye out for reviews on those!



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