BookBrowse Reviews Miracles, Inc. by T. J. Forrester

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Miracles, Inc.

A Novel

by T. J. Forrester

Miracles, Inc. by T. J. Forrester X
Miracles, Inc. by T. J. Forrester
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Forrester's debut novel tells the story of a charismatic slacker in love with Harley Davidsons and a beautiful woman who quotes poetry

Throughout Miracles, Inc., T. J. Forrester adroitly juggles our estimation of his death row protagonist/narrator. Is Vernon L. Oliver really a murderer? Or is he an innocent man who has been framed? Can we trust his telling of the story? Or is he a prevaricator, fabricating a fantasy in order to gain our sympathy? Does he have any redeeming qualities? Or is he simply a garden-variety sociopath? This combination of uncertainty and possibility is what keeps us turning the pages. Because, darn it anyway, despite everything, we kind of like Vernon L Oliver.

Sure, he is a swindler. We know that from the get-go. He freely admits to feeling no remorse over posing as a faith healer in order to con cash out of people desperate for a miracle. "Hope," he notes as he passes the collection plate during a Tabernacle Carnival's healing service, "That's what we sold twice a day, and this congregation was about to get a major dose." But that is just the beginning, small time stuff compared to the millions he will eventually rake in via his Miracles, Inc. televangelist network.

It probably goes without saying that Oliver is a phony. He doesn't buy what he's selling for one minute, even when he's about to step onstage before a crowd of thousands at a revival in Guatemala City: "God, the Holy Spirit and Pastor Vernon Oliver had come to visit. An unholy trinity wrapped up inside one big lie." And before services he snorts lines of coke to help amplify his own, already impressive, image before the crowds.

On the other hand, Oliver does possess a few redeeming qualities. A man who can command the adoration, to say nothing of the pocketbooks, of millions is nothing if not charming. But, beyond this easy charisma, there is also his unswerving loyalty to and love for beautiful but complicated Rickie Terrell as well as his fond memories of his deceased sister. He's a generous philanthropist, and he's smart, with what they used to call a photographic memory. We like smart people. But can we trust them? Especially those on death row?

Finally we have to ask whether Oliver might be just plain crazy, driven there by years of isolation inside a six-by-ten cell. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a person became psychotic while awaiting his/her own certain death. No spoilers here, though. Read it. Decide for yourself. Forrester's wizardry at creating a truly complex character makes reading this book a thoroughly amusing mental exercise.

About the Author
AuthorT. J. Forrester has been a fisherman, a subsistence farmer, a bouncer, a window washer, and a miner. He is one of the few hikers in the world to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. He has written fiction since 2001, and his stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. Forrester also edits Five Star Literary Stories, an online site that brings the best fiction published on the web to a new audience for both reading and review.

Reviewed by Donna Chavez

This review is from the February 3, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.