I have a soft spot for coming of age books.  For The LOVE of MARY is THE feel good book of the year. It not only made me smile, it brought me back to when life was complicatedly simple. As my little life rushes on at a crazy pace, getting lost within the pages of For the LOVE of MARY was wonderfully nostalgic.

I think the publisher’s blurb is spot on :

“A hilarious coming-of-age novel about the pain of young love, family secrets, and sick ferrets.

Fifteen-year-old Jacob feels almost on the inside: almost smart, almost funny, almost good-looking, almost worthy of falling in love. His sister is too busy dating guys in Whitesnake jackets to notice, and his best friend is occupied with his own painful pubescent crisis. Jacob’s mother has just started a curious (and rather un-Christian) holy war with the church across the street, while his father has secretly moved into the garage.

Everything changes when Jacob meets Mary. Jacob thinks Mary is the most beautiful girl in the world. If only Mary’s father wasn’t the minister at the enormous rival church. If only she wasn’t dating a youth pastor with pristine white teeth and impeccably trimmed hair. If only Jacob could work up the courage to tell Mary how he feels . . .

As the conflict between the churches escalates, a peeping Tom prowls the neighbourhood, a bearded lady terrorizes unsuspecting Dairy Queen customers, a beautiful young girl entices Jacob into a carnal romp in a car wash, and the church parishioners prepare their annual re-enactment of Operation Desert Storm.

For the Love of Mary is sidesplitting satire with a surprising amount of heart.”

So, I went along for this weird roller coaster ride with Jacob, with his Cheetos eating friend, met the bearded lady, had a first row seat to the weird Desert Storm re-enactment and so on. Throughout all this, I just couldn’t help but love all the awkwardness.  I rolled my eyes at Jacob’s mom, wanted to give him a much needed hug and I may have wanted to punch someone in the gut.  I don’t normally laugh out loud when reading, yet Christopher Meads made me do it !!

The novel is not only wonderfully written, it helped me travel back in time to my own coming of age moments… and that fairy-tale instant when life (as I knew it) seemed to completely change.  Reading this book was such a comfort and brightened my spirits when the day just seemed to be going all wrong.

For the LOVE of MARY is a truly endearing novel.  If you don’t know what to pick up next, I’d highly recommend bringing a little Christopher Meades’ For the LOVE of MARY into your life.  This was my first novel from Meades and my shelves will definitely be getting a little heavier as I fill them with more of his novels.

For the LOVE of MARY by Christopher Meades
Published by ECW Press

For the LOVE of MARY

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