The Loser Letters – a book review

First, this will not be a book “review.”  Frankly I don’t do those as well as I would like (and Claire Gillen of the Washington Times did a nice job for this book).  Often a review to be as much about the one writing and his/her perspective as the book.   Mine end up being promotional pieces for books that you must read.

And you must read THE LOSER LETTERS by Mary Eberstadt.  Order it now. I”ll wait.

Maybe you need to hear about the book first.  Mary performs what Patrick O’Hannigan rightfully describes as  “a high wire act” – her whimsical and culturally-savvy satire (as 25 -year – old “A.F. Christian”) deftly deals substantial critiques of atheism’s claims.  A. F. (“A Former”) Christian advises atheist leaders how to handle the gaping weaknesses in their claims. And they are gaping by the time each chapter concludes.  The satire may be lost at points for some readers, but the the result is a knockout punch on atheism that reads like a humorous, and at times very touching, short story.

A.F. Christian questions the logic, evidence, and ultimate purpose for many of atheism’s (and its prominent writers) claims. She questions atheism’s logic regarding the “sexual revolution,” aesthetics, abortion, family, women, converts to Christianity (still looking for thoughtful converts to atheism), and a few other areas that I won’t reveal here.

Her one critique that is most effective (to me) is the idea of goodness – to what good for humanity and others is atheism working?  What historical evidence exists for demonstrating atheism’s benefit or “goodness” for humanity?  What  do the legacies of recent atheistic governments in the world reveal? Ah, you’ll have to read it for more.

You can read this book in two days and you ought to do just that.  You will laugh out loud in spots and marvel at the depth for such a short and satirical work.  It was such an encouragement to me and it propelled me to sharpen my own thinking and abilities (I recommend any book by Chad MeisterGod is Great and Reasons For Faith).  The book also made me a fan of Mary Eberstadt’s writings – her other books and writings in First Things.  She is obviously an expert in the field, not just a gifted writer (although she is that) who developed a “hook.”  You will readily spot her scholarly expertise as she discusses the background of the book here and in this interview.

I know I’m late to the fan party for THE LOSER LETTERS – many have loved it for a long time – but I come away very enthused and I’m making up for lost time, buying a few copies to pass around. You will probably want to do the same.

Thanks to  Rick Lawrence for recommending this book as one of his favorite over the last five years.  It truly is stunning.  And the ending does not disappoint.