When Hodder Faith offered a free copy of The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass: Adrian Plass and the Church Weekend to a few lucky people on Twitter I sent an email, thinking that was the last I’d hear of it.
To my surprise I was a winner! I was even more amazed, when the book arrived – it is a hardback, with a wonderful cartoon on the cover. I had forgotten the pleasure of reading a hardback book. (It is also available as a paperback and an e-book.)
Having read an early book in the series, but not the adventures of the fictional version of Adrian over the intervening years was not a problem in picking up the thread. The blurb indicates that Adrian agreed on behalf of himself and his wife to organise the Church weekend away. The format of a diary allows the author to experiment with various styles of writing. One thing I liked was that he did not always spell out, for example, the name of a TV show, leaving the reader to work it out. I know I scored at least three out of four for recognising the names of Christian Centres combined to make the fictional setting of the story – Scarleeswanvale.
As Adrian says in the diary about how jokes are likely to be received, “You never know with Christians.” The jokes push the boundaries, but they did not offend me. One, which deals with mental illness, managed to be funny by being ridiculous and using wordplay. Having had a stress-related illness qualifies the author to include this sort of joke. (I was brought up not to “mock the afflicted”!)
Although this is a humorous book, there are many serious ideas served up in it. I hope that many of those involved in the prayer ministry of churches will read it.
I like loose ends to be tied up in the books I read. This story leaves at least one, but ends on a hopeful note with the possibility of a sequel.