A few weeks ago I ordered Penn Jillette's God, no! book, and when it finally arrived I was so excited. I really like Penn Jillete for many reasons, and consider myself a fan. I'd already known that he is brazen, profane, and insanely comfortable with anything explicit--still, though, the near-constant usage of fuck, cunt, cock, dick, pussy and whatever else was distracting. And annoying. It's not that I was offended; I use those words too, but they quickly get annoying and lose their value when used so repetitiously. I just found it annoying. Did I mention it was annoying?
With the title of God, no! and the tagline "Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales", I was expecting a book about atheism in some fashion. Instead, it is a book full of random ramblings about anything and everything. It has no focus. Very quickly into the book I found myself thinking, "What the fuck is this about? Why is he talking about this? Where is this going? Is there a point to this story?", but I plunged ahead thinking that surely he would bring his stories full circle and they would have some sort of relevance to atheism or a related topic. But God, no, it never happened.
Admittedly, I haven't finished it and I doubt I will. I made it to the Scuba Fucking story--an underwater tale of how he spent many days screwing a model multiple times a day, twice underwater to win a bet that said he couldn't orgasm at 40 feet--and that's when I finally gave up on, at least for now. The lurid details of her nipples, how they greased up each other's genitals with coconut oil, her screaming multiple orgasms and the quantity of his ejaculations...I just don't give a shit. Why the hell is that story, and all the other ramblings, in there? Magic has always bored me (I know, I'm weird) and so I really would glaze over when he got to talking about that industry and the people in it (which was frequently).
I do like his atheistic Ten Suggestions set in contrast to the Bible's Ten Commandments. The truth is, though, this is really his memoir. It's a collection of thoughts, stories and random experiences of his life--occasionally there is thrown in a little atheistic philosophy. Looking at it from that perspective, I understand it and like it a lot better. It would be where disorganized conversation would flow if you were enjoying a few beers with Jillette (though he doesn't drink), and it would be a lot of fun then. I just wish I knew that was what it was about! I was expecting to learn about why he doesn't believe in God, and the signs that I may already be an atheist.
Buy the book if you want to know about Penn Jillette and some of his crazy experiences, as told with his vibrant personality and shocking vulgarity. Don't buy it if you want to learn about atheism.
I remain, however, a fan of Penn.