cover image Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!

Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!

Penn Jillette. Penguin/Blue Rider Press, $25.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-399-16156-8

Jillette (God, No!), renowned stage magic curmudgeon, bares all with a new collection of essays, mixing memoir and cultural observation, in what is mostly a light read, but an undeniably fun one. Those who are primarily fans of Jillette's magic and comedy act will be thrilled by the insight into the origin of his unorthodox and enduring working relationship with his stage partner, Teller, as well as memorable anecdotes of his own early days as a street performer. Even more entertaining are the recollections of his life apart from show business. A reader who might initially find the author a depraved crank may end up rooting for his success and identifying with his unusual morality as he displays a remarkably positive attitude toward the violation of his turkey by a Thanksgiving guest. On balance, the author emerges as a likeable family man, and a soft touch. But that does not diminish the quality of observational pieces like his atheistic analysis of the "I Have a Dream" speech. With all the ground covered, it would be difficult not to find something enjoyable here. B&w photos. (Nov.)