cover image Joshua's Family

Joshua's Family

Joseph F. Girzone, . . Doubleday, $19.95 (217pp) ISBN 978-0-385-51714-0

This disappointing prequel to Girzone's bestseller Joshua imagines Christ's childhood in a contemporary setting. In the town of Sharon, a poor family moves into a ramshackle house. Joseph, the father, is a master carpenter; Miriam is the mother whose "whole life centered around her two men"; and Joshua is the kind, obedient 11-year-old son, wise beyond his years. Joshua realizes he is different from other boys when he turns water into wine, walks on water, heals an injured friend and mysteriously knows the best fishing spots. Girzone's characters ponder the sadness of war, the folly of taking God out of schools and rampant drug use among adolescents. These plot elements never catch fire, however. Repetitive phrases and contradictions vie with platitudes ("For people who have little, the simplest surprise fills their hearts with gladness") and ponderous observations ("That afternoon and evening was a time in their lives they would not soon forget"). Even readers who loved Joshua will be hard pressed to find this bland story worthwhile. (May)