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Bobby Henderson – The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

November 4, 2009

129. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson (2006)

Length: 178 pages
Genre: Non-fiction; Humor

Started: 24 October 2009
Finished: 24 October 2009

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? All hail His Noodliness!

FSM: it’s the
only faith that’s supported
by science! RAmen!

Summary: Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, or Pastafarianism, originated as a response to the Kansas School Board’s decision to include Intelligent Design in its science curriculum. If the goal of this move was really to expose children to alternative views about the validity of evolution, Bobby Henderson argued in an open letter to the school board, then surely equal time should be given to Pastafarianism, which holds that the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that all scientific evidence claiming otherwise has been manipulated by His Noodly Appendage. This book lays out the basic tenets of the Pastafarian beliefs – including worship services conducted in pirate garb, holy days every Friday, an absolute rejection of dogma, and all of the carbs you can handle – as well as presenting scientific and mathematical proofs of the existence of the FSM, and a guide to converting non-believers.

Review: The Gospel of the FSM is a good example of why I’m not crazy about the current trend of giving everyone with a successful website their own book deal. It seems like too often, the humor that works fine in one medium starts to falter when stretched out over the entire length of a book. I mean, I’ve been a proud Pastafarian for years, and I certainly got more than one chuckle while reading… but at the same time, the book feels like a bit of a rehash of what’s already available on the FSM website, and after it’s hit its key notes a few times, the joke starts to wear a little thin. Conceptually, The Gospel of the FSM is a hilarious, timely, and effective piece of satire, but in execution it winds up feeling over-long and not entirely able to justify its existence as a book separate from the website that spawned it. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Pastafarians will probably enjoy having it around, and it certainly might convert some open-minded non-believers (at least those with a sense of humor), but I’d recommend reading it in small chunks, rather than straight through. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to partake in the holy communion of a pasta dinner…

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Other Reviews: Largehearted Boy, Necromancy Never Pays
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Dear friend, Welcome to the wonderful world of religion!

Cover Thoughts: Having the cover with another book cover printed on it is weird; I’d have liked it better with the solid cover and an actual pasta-looking ribbon bookmark.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009 8:40 am

    This sounds a little silly – I don’t think this is the book for me.

    • November 5, 2009 11:12 am

      bermudaonion – Oh, I wouldn’t say it’s a little silly; I’d say it’s thoroughly silly. But it is silliness with a point, at least.

  2. November 4, 2009 9:23 am

    “The Gospel of the FSM is a good example of why I’m not crazy about the current trend of giving everyone with a successful website their own book deal.”

    I agree! Particularly with satire – something can be wickedly, incisively funny, but stretching it out into a longer medium can very much kill the funny. (Though I do still appreciate this as an attack on creationism.)

    • November 5, 2009 11:13 am

      Jenny – For sure! That’s why I think this would be much better as a browsing/bathroom book – a few pages (maybe the equivalent of one blog post) per day would lessen the overkill I got from reading it straight through.

  3. November 5, 2009 2:38 pm

    I’ve heard of Pastafarians but I never did find out what it was exactly. Sounds like an interesting read.

    • November 8, 2009 1:31 pm

      Ladytink – It’s pretty funny (I think, anyways); the open letter gives a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.

  4. November 5, 2009 5:27 pm

    Nice website. I enjoy satire also and have been reading a pretty entertaining book called “Cancel Christmas” by Rocco Leonard Martino. It’s an engaging story of what greed can lead you to do. It uses humor to illustrate how power is abused in government and business. I’m really enjoying it!

    • November 8, 2009 1:32 pm

      Betty – I don’t really make a point of reading a lot of satire, but I came to Pastafarianism through other means.

  5. November 6, 2009 4:39 pm

    Hmmm… I love the site, but I did worry about how well this would work as a book, and you’ve confirmed my fears. However, as another proud Pastafarian I expect I’ll end up getting a copy sometime :P

    • November 8, 2009 1:33 pm

      Nymeth – I think it would be much better as a browsing copy – trying to read it straight through during the readathon is probably what killed it for me.

  6. November 6, 2009 7:03 pm

    Yay for us Pastafarians! Too bad about the book, but like Nymeth said, I’ll probably have to get a copy anyway.

    • November 8, 2009 1:33 pm

      Trisha – Eh, the book wasn’t unenjoyable – how can you not like a book that includes a picture of a witch eating a calculator? – it just got a smidge repetitive.

      • November 8, 2009 9:26 pm

        I can see that; a lot of religious and quasi-religious texts can be thematically redundant, and with something like this, I can definitely see how it would get repetitive fast.

  7. November 7, 2009 5:02 pm

    Pastafarians – you can’t fault them :)

  8. November 10, 2009 1:12 pm

    I didn’t know this was a website before it was a book; I saw it only because my son picked it up in a bookstore.

    • November 10, 2009 9:00 pm

      Jeanne – Personally, I think the hate mail section is one of the most amusing parts of the website.

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