Penn Jillette :: God, No!

PennJillette-bookPenn Jillette (the talking half of the magical pranking duo, Penn & Teller) writes this great book about his life, which includes some very amusing stories. He touches on how he grew up in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in a very normal American family. And about how he would then proceed to a life that would be anything but normal.

To be honest with you, when I first looked at the title I thought to myself, “Oh great; another guy writing another book to prove the non-existance of God, and blah blah blah . . . .” Another part of me, however, thought, “Well, this guy is one of my heroes, plus he’s just naturally an entertaining guy. . . I don’t think he’ll write crap.”

So I bought the book and I started reading it, and I soon realized that he’s not really talking about atheism. It’s mentioned and touched upon, and the book is broken down into separate sections representing each of the biblical Ten Commandments, each paired with an atheist suggestion to follow, plus a few stories that one way or another relate to that suggestion.

He tells some very amusing stories involving  a girlfriend’s scuba diving adventure which made the Penthouse letters. Another story surrounded an atheist baptism party that involved a swimming pool, while other topics ranged from a naked Elvis, to an anecdote featuring Jillette, Ron Jeremy, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top aboard a Nasau anti-gravity ride (which he calls the “vomit comet”). Jillette also offers stories about his family, facing the death of both of his parents, as well as what he and Gilbert Gotfried did to help each other grieve the deaths of their respective mothers.

And so, in short: this book that is supposed to talk about the life of an atheist really turns out to be about being human. I really enjoyed this book, and I give it an eight out of ten. It’s not always a quick read and there are some areas that ramble, but what the hell – it’s only 220 pages so it’s not that painful. The next time you’re in a bookstore, be sure to pick one up and check it out.

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