The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper (May 19, 2015)
New York Times bestselling humorist Michael Perry makes his fiction debut with this hilarious and big-hearted tale, a comic yet sincere exploration of faith and the foibles of modern life that blends the barbed charm of Garrison Keillor, the irreverent humor of Christopher Moore, and the audacious insight of Chuck Klosterman
Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”
Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, drifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?
Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and souvenir snow globes. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.
Wow! This was a strange book, but not in a bad way. The book was funny and very different.
We’ve all seen or heard about the piece of toast with the image of Jesus, right? Well, Harley Jackson’s cow, who he named Tina Turner, delivers a calf who has a birthmark that looks like Jesus. You can only imagine the uproar that causes for not only for Harley but the whole town. Swivel, Wisconsin. is overrun by the media and everyone within hearing distance of the calf and the birthmark.
The characters were a mix of…well, characters. Some are a bit strange and those were the ones I loved the most. There is a lot happening in this book, and it had a steady flow. I really liked Harley, Caroline and Billy, but also some of the people who came and went throughout the book. The ending wasn’t what I expected, but it worked.
This was my first Perry book, but I do plan to read more. It was a quick, fun read that takes place in a small town, a well written story that is very original.
About The Author
Michael Perry is a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including Visiting Tom and Population: 485. He lives in rural Wisconsin with his family.