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Tom Harley loves self-deprecating humor. He also likes the kind of humor where you make fun of yourself. He loves hyperbole. He also likes wild exaggeration to make a point.
He is good at zany storytelling. He is good at explaining Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is not good at anything else. He has combined these three skills to write “Tom Irregardless and Me,” a romping and riotous defense of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their place in today’s world, the free-ranging "No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash," and the work he considers his most important: "Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia." (in safe and unsafe version)
on April 04, 2017 :
I used to read Tom's blog. His books are just as great! He talks about people in his congregation who are like others I have met in congregations that I have been in. We share the same faith and the same things touch both of our hearts, but his way of expressing it and connecting it with world events is a pleasure to read.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Feb. 27, 2017 :
Name's Bob Murphey, and though I am nowhere near complete with the book, I am really enjoying the light-heartedness and humor throughout. What I really appreciate is his honesty and making me think deeply. A good job covering Prince and the "VIP Syndrome". My God I thought that was funny. I really like how you covered the child abuse issue, and leading it in with Joe Paterno and Penn State really highlighted the emotion-laden anti-Witness "witch-hunt" mentality that apostates are stirring up in the media. Thank you for pointing how "child abuse" is really a catch-all phrase, and giving it context on a wide-scale that affects virtually every single organization on the planet.
However, my favorite part of your book is how you articulated, rather well, how important an organization is when one undergoes persecution (speaking about the Nazi persecution of Witnesses here). Having strong leadership is VERY important nowadays as it was in the First Century. Nothing breaks your resolve more than your leadership siding with the persecutors under the pretext that "God can turn evil into good". So that means God wants me to renounce my allegiance to Him and support genocidal murderers. Nothing is more repulsive to me.
For now that is all. Good read, and keep up the good work!!!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Feb. 26, 2017 :
Read the whole book almost in one sitting. (Don't start it just before anything important!) Very funny book with many things well said. Not for those who don't like exaggerations though. And yes it's true that we have better things to do than stop to kick at every dog that barks at us, but seeing as this guy's already done it for laughs, we could do worse than read his book. Recommended.
(reviewed 35 days after purchase)
Ivor E. Towers
on Feb. 19, 2017 :
Tom Harley’s Tom Irregardless and Me has been described as “a romping and riotous defense of Jehovah's Witnesses and their place in today’s world.” This really sums up the book, which is a light-hearted look at numerous aspects of the Watch Tower Society from the perspective of a practising Jehovah’s Witness in the US.
To the outsider, Jehovah’s Witnesses may seem deadly serious and preoccupied exclusively with their religion and the Society’s own publications. Harley dispels this stereotype. The book is about real people and issues, although the author has changed the names of rank-and-file members to preserve name anonymity. Tom Irregardless is an elder who uses the spurious word “irregardless” liberally in his Bible talks. Other characters include John Wheatnweeds, who hinders members from their house-to-house ministry by spending inordinate amounts of time expounding the text of the day before they set out. Then there is posh brandy-sipping Bernard Strawman, who receives frequent visits from the publishers, but continues to raise facile objections to their faith. Vic Vomidog, an apostate, repeatedly seeks to hamper their work. Other chapters are about real JW celebrities such as Prince, who is the subject of an entire chapter.
Despite being light-hearted throughout, Tom Hartley raises serious issues such as flag salutes, Darwinism and creationism, theocratic government, the paedophile scandals and the dangers of online grooming of minors, and the accuracy of the New World Translation of the Bible. Tom shows a remarkable breadth of knowledge and reading too – he has by no means exclusively studied Watch Tower publications.
My favourite part of the book was the parody of Mickey Spillane near the end, where Tom Hartley envisages a house-to-house publisher acting like one of Spillane’s macho characters. For those who don’t know, Spillane was a novelist whose books were renowned for their sex and violence, until Spillane converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness in 1951 – a decision that drastically changed his writing style.
Tom Hartley states that he hopes Tom Irregardless is “entertaining but serious at heart”. This sums up the book well. It’s a good read, while providing valuable insights into life as a JW.
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
on Jan. 30, 2017 :
Thoroughly enjoyed Tom Irregardless and Me. Had me laughing out loud one minute and thinking deeply the next. Tom Harley has a great sense of humour and says a lot of things that many JW's think but don't often say. Despite writing a number of things that only witnesses would 'get', those who malign without knowing the facts would benefit by reading this light-hearted, yet serious, book.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
on Jan. 27, 2017 :
I really enjoyed reading “Tom Irregardless and Me”. Tom Harley has a fantastic sense of humor, he says a lot of things that need to be said and a lot of things that only witnesses would truly appreciate. I haven’t met any of the people in the book, yet I feel that I have.
Thank you very much for brightening my day.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on Jan. 17, 2017 :
Read and enjoy this. If you are a JW you will be entertained and encouraged. Thought provoking and very well written. Tom has a firm grasp on the written word and how to weave a narrative in a way that makes you think, laugh, and meditate on the big picture in a thoroughly entertaining fashion. Which is something we all need to do.
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
Bill K. Underwood
on Dec. 26, 2016 :
While it is not for the easily stumbled, Tom Irregardless and Me is a terrific read. It had me laughing out loud over and over again. Tom Harley makes no apologies for being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and neatly skewers most of the objections raised by opposers and apostates - blood transfusion, college education, patriotism, homophobia, and more - while at the same time acknowledging their own foibles and puncturing sacred cows, but doing so with an obvious 'mild manner and deep respect.'
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)
on Dec. 15, 2016 :
Only a chapter or two in so far, but I'm loving it! Funny and thought-provoking, for sure.
(reviewed the day of purchase)