Jesus Freak

There’s no refuting it: adolescence sucks. It’s messy, embarrassing, and it smells funny. Growing up under the most normal of circumstances can be trying, but the protagonist of Tony DuShane’s first novel has it really rough. He’s being watched. All the time. By God. And He’s not happy. Confessions of A Teenage Jesus Jerk follows the trials and tribulations of a teenage boy named Gabe who’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Not only does Gabe’s community condemn masturbation and sex before marriage, they want Gabe and his teenage cohorts to spend their weekends going door to door spreading the word. In between nursing libidinous crushes on girls in his congregation and wondering whether he’s going to survive Armageddon, Gabe is having doors slammed in his face, Watchtower in hand. DuShane is no stranger to the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses; the book is loosely based on his own life. DuShane may have been a teenage Jesus jerk, but now the local writer with a dramatic handlebar mustache and pensive eyebrows is a regular at literary events all over town, and hosts a radio show on which he’s rubbed elbows with the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and Miranda July. So maybe Gabe makes it out OK in the end.

DuShane reads tonight at the monthly Rumpus online magazine event, performing along with Daniel Handler, Ethan Watters, and other authors, as well as DJ Real and the Yellow Dress.
Mon., Feb. 8, 7 p.m., 2010

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