Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America

Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
America has a pastor president, the states have pastor governors and they rule with a Bible in each fist. More

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About Randy Attwood

I grew up on the grounds of Larned State Hospital, where my father was its dentist. That was interesting. I went to The University of Kansas during the tumultuous 1960s. That was interesting, too. For the first half of my adult career I worked in newspaper journalism. You couldn't call that boring. I won my share of honors, twice winning the award for investigative reporting from the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU. For the second half of my career I was Director of University Relations at The University of Kansas Medical Center. There were some boring times, but the exciting episodes made up for it. I retired at the end of 2010 from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, where I was its media relations officer. You see, my degree from KU was not in journalism, but in art history. Unfortunately, my father died when I was 21 so I couldn't make him eat his words about that art history degree not being worth anything. I've had stints living in Italy and in Japan.

During all this time I've been putting words on paper, creating fiction. My works don't fit into neat genres, unless that rather new genre "quirky" applies. And each work is quirky in its own way. What that means for me is that in each work is evidence of a deep search within myself. Sometimes it's scary what you find in there.

I'm semi-retired now in Kansas City, keeping busy with a lot of things, among them promoting my fiction and creating new works. That search within yourself never ends.

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Review by: michael james gallagher on April 26, 2013 :
Antics of the Religious Right Exposed
Social realism couched in a biblical history lesson situates Rabbletown's genre. I do not follow the antics of the American religious right, but the names, such as Falwell, Robertson, and Cheney rang bells for me.
The story kept me reading. Rabbletown bubbles with great prose and features diatribes against the hypocrisy of organized institutions in the not so distant future. The author's post-apocalypse view possesses shades of today not exaggerated to the extreme. An accusing finger points at the religious right, state and national governments while identifying financial, sexual and electoral abuse in the system.
Attwood paints a canvas that exposes excessive homophobia and carnal corruption installed in the dominant institutions of his dystopian nightmare. His world craves freedom and finds its revolution through an unlikely savior-a bible quoting child cum Jesus figure. As I do not live in the south of America, I was sometimes turned off by the extremity of the allusions, but these polemics never stopped me from reading. Perhaps the titillating nature of some of the descriptions seemed slightly out of place.
In the epilogue, the reader discovers allusions to the present (2011). Are we on the way to a religious apocalypse? See for yourself.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Review by: Colleen Kitchen on Dec. 4, 2012 :
Written by a genuine Kansan, this book projects what might happen if the religious right were to ever seize power in these United States. It bears a striking resemblance to A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (no relation as far as I know) wherein privacy, separation of church and state, and liberty become a thing of the past. Pastors have all the power and money, the regular people are afraid to say openly what they think, people are spied on via their "spiritual advisors," and of course women are nothing but chattels.

The book tracks the stories of several misfits: a nonwhite person of uncertain race, (but doesn't matter, because in the new Christianoid America only white people "count",) a Catholic (the new order grudgingly tolerates the Catholics for their knowledge) a tortured gay guy, and a women who is conveniently labelled as a whore so that she may be easily disposed of. They all start to follow a 12-year old prophet named Bobby, who seems to be trying to move people away from hate and fear and back to true Christianity -- a huge threat to the power structure.

The book cuts back to scenes of the power hungry reverends as they hear about the Bobby threat and pool their collective intelligence (maybe about half a watt) to try to eliminate him. You get a glimpse of how monstrously over the top evil and hypocritical they are.

I won't spoil it by giving away the climax, but let's just say there are a number of parallels in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

My one quarrel is that some of the characters could have been better developed. The Bobbites are the best developed characters in the book. Bobby himself is a bit of an enigma: we only see him from a distance and through hearsay. Perhaps that is by design. I couldn't keep track of which evil white man was which because they were all the same. And non wife women were just bodies with boobs on them for the horny reverends to enjoy whenever they felt.....um... what was the word, "stressed."

Apart from that minor quibble, it's a good read.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Review by: Jill Garza on Nov. 15, 2011 :
Not for the proselytizers among us, but for those who will be intrigued by an Orwellian America ruled from the pulpit, Attwood's Rabbletown won't dissappoint.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Review by: Jill Garza on Nov. 15, 2011 : (no rating)
Not for the proselytizers among us, but for those who will be intrigued by an Orwellian America ruled from the pulpit, Attwood's Rabbletown won't dissappoint.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Review by: Katy Sozaeva on Sep. 2, 2011 :
I expected a few things when I started reading this book. I expected to maybe be amused by a satirical take on the Fundamentalists that are doing their utmost to take over this country – sadly, the concept is difficult to make amusing, because the idea of Fundamentalists taking over this country and turning it into an Evangelical theocracy is absolutely terrifying to anyone who wants to live in love and Light. I expected to be outraged by the excesses of Fundamentalist leaders who grow fat and rich off the tithing of their flock, while the common people live in poverty and squalor. I expected to be terrified by the idea of an Evangelical theocracy in general. What I did not expect was to be profoundly moved. I did not expect the overwhelming desire to make this book required reading for everyone. I did not expect goose bumps or a profound feeling of “rightness” to come over me while I read this book. I did not expect to want to take to the streets to preach the word of Bobby – to propose that the world would be a better place if we all became … Bobbites.

You see, 12-year-old Bobby Crowley – the son of stone-mason Bob Crowley, who is working to build a cathedral in Topeka, KS that will be larger and more glorious than any other cathedral in the world – is special. He has an amazing memory for Bible verses, and a strangely wise way of saying just the right thing at just the right time. And he has been carefully watching the formation of a significant alignment of stars in the sky, including a new star that just appeared three months ago, which are coming into a cross-like shape. And on a Friday like any other Friday – a Stoning Friday that would see the stoning to death of a “heathen, a whore, a pair of adulterers and a pair of faggots” - Bobby takes his place among the great religious leaders of the world when he steps forward and speaks the words “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and in the process saves the life of a beatific young woman: he gains a following and begins performing miracles, and providing proverbs of hope, peace and love. Many people believe he is the second coming of Christ.

Caught in his wake are a prostitute, his teacher (himself gay and who has been forcing himself up the weaker boys in his classes), the young woman who had been accused of being a whore and set to be stoned, a seller of banned books, a Catholic friar and many more; they go into Rabbletown, the slums of Topeka, where Bobby spreads the true way – the way of peace, love, acceptance and kindness, rather than the hate and manipulations used by those in power. And in a world where the leaders all revere and emulate the practices and beliefs of that disgusting scumbag Fred Phelps, those sorts of teachings are threatening to the power structure. Bobby and all who believe in him and his miracles are declared anathema and the Inquisition is sent after them.

This book does two things: it exposes the horror of a theocratic, fascist Evangelical Fundamentalist power structure, and it provides hope for redemption for anyone who chooses to live a truly good life, and follow the basic teachings that so many modern-day dogmatics seem to forget are the only two rules laid down by Christ – you know, the one Christians are supposed to emulate? Yeshua Christos told his followers to follow two simple rules: 1) love each other and treat others like you would like them to treat you; 2) love the Higher Power of Creation, in whatever form you choose to comprehend It. It doesn’t matter what religion, creed, belief structure or lack thereof you choose to affiliate yourself with, these simple rules are common across almost every single one, and are the only rules that are really necessary to create a world in which everyone would like to live. This book – reading this book – will cause a profound shift in perception and I believe, honestly, that the world would be a better place if everyone followed the example set by Bobby. We all need to become Bobbites. Read this book and see if you don’t find these truths to be as profound as I did.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)

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