Review: Maybe God Is An American by Bernie Donnelly

★★★★ Maybe God Is An American by Bernie Donnelly

Following the thrilling events of Maybe God Was an Irishman, author Bernie Donnelly brings readers back to the surreal premise of a 21st century Second Coming, where there is still much work to be done, in Maybe God Is An American. With the same blend of religious philosophy and off-the-cuff humor, this new book reveals what happens after Father Sean disappears, and welcomes readers into a new adventure on the other side of the pond.

Father Sean may have disappeared in the eyes of the world, but his disciples, Linda, Miguel and Anna, know that he is very real, and that his mission is incredibly important.  The danger to the world has never been greater, and it is the work of these disciples to guide and steer the course of history before something truly terrible occurs.

The cast of fascinating characters, many with their own ambitions and methods of spreading the good word in this new world. They appear to be regular people, but they will serve a very important purpose in ensuring that the new gospel doesn’t fall on deaf ears. From political maneuvering in Washington to defending the innocent and battling child sex offenders, this novel is fast-paced and unpredictable, and gives readers a view of what a modern-day religious revelation might look like.

Vinnie is just as interesting in this second installment as he was in the first, forever doubting and succumbing to his baser instincts, but his friendship with Sean hasn’t dimmed, and for much of the second part of the book, he works to earn a place as a disciple. He is also struggling to find his lost faith, making him a fascinating character at the heart of this story. The woman he loves seems to have no doubts regarding her own beliefs, but he is perpetually torn. Satan has a hold on him, but his faith helps him overcome seemingly impossible difficulties, even earning him some miraculous powers in the process.

Building on the stories and lessons of the first novel and beyond, this book will challenge readers to inspect their own faith, and examine the moral compass that is guiding much of the modern world. Presently, the world teeters on the edge of disaster, making this book a timely reminder of the lessons on which Christianity is founded. Regardless of your religious background or your present practices, there is wisdom in these pages, and a perspective on the world today that everyone can benefit from.

As with the last book, there are very few errors or wasted words, and all of the loose ends are tied up nicely. Even with so many characters and overlapping plot lines, the story is easy to follow and enjoyable from start to finish. While a book so heavily laden with religious symbolism could become somewhat preachy, Donnelly is careful to show a path, rather than force readers to abide by a certain set of beliefs.

The simplicity and beauty with which Donnelly expresses universal truths, and presents moral imperatives, is truly impressive. He has hit on an unforgettable premise in these first two books, and created something that readers of any creed or country can appreciate.