Friday, May 1, 2020

Book Review: 'The Lost Gospel of Donald' by Preston Coleman

The Lost Gospel of Donald by Preston Coleman

‘I have the best words, my words are the best, I write it all by myself.’

Maryland author Preston Coleman earned his doctorate in media studies and is a professor of communication at Chesapeake College. Having been the recipient of awards in teaching and research as well as satire, Coleman now offers his debut publication – THE LOST GOSPEL OF DONALD – in what promises to be an ongoing series of satires of the highest order!

Taking his position as a satirist in the line that includes Gogol, Swift, Mark Twain, Orwell, Vonnegut, Heller, Palahniuk among others, Coleman shines as a writer who can combine history, biblical references, and sociopolitical concepts to create one of the more daring and wise and hysterical spoofs on contemporary politics. In his Foreword he offers background information about other ‘lost gospels’ and shares the 2019 discovery in the basement of a Russian Orthodox church in Weehawken, NJ of this lost gospel of Donald of Gaul – born a few years before Jesus ‘into a prominent family whose wealth allowed him to immigrate to Rome, where he built a series of inns, taverns, bath houses, casinos, and theatres, first in the Roman capital, and later throughout the Mediterranean region.’ He adds that Donald of Gaul was present during the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and plunged into manipulating that and other important following events to enhance his hospitality empire…The parody is set!

Using the scriptural style of verses, Coleman opens tie ‘gospel’ with the following: “1. In the beginning was the Word. I have the best words, my words are the best. No one has better words then me, they’re fantastic. 2. Now a lot of people have told me the story of this guy, Jesus. I’ve heard these stories, they’re okay, some of them are okay, some of them, frankly, aren’t so great…10…These Jews, they’re funny people, they’re full of guilt, everybody knows that. So he gets rid of their guilt, just washes it away. That’s what he’s selling. A marketing genius, I’m telling you. Figure out what the people want, and give to them...20. It’s all about branding. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, The Tower of David, Caesar’s Palace – you get the picture. You have to put your name out there every chance you get.” Echoes? Tweets?...

In this inimitable manner of relating the life of Jesus in the terminology and language of President Donald Trump, Coleman allows Donald’s signature speaking style, tweeting style, and actual quotations to offer a substantially new and different version of Jesus’ baptism, healing the leper, Sermon on the Mount, transfiguration, Last Supper, trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. At once pungent, poignant and hilarious, this new ‘lost gospel’ shares a cynical, distorted, narcissistic, and megalomaniacal view of events that mirror the persona intended. Destined to become controversial, THE LOST GOSPEL OF DONALD is a brilliantly conceived and executed satire – food for belly laughs and refreshed perceptions!!! Very highly recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.