Since I’ve gotten several requests via comments to write about this from lovely women, I think I shall give it my best shot.
Anne Rice’s latest novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, is a story of Jesus’ childhood, specifically the period when he left Egypt and returned to Nazareth. I would be remiss to not begin this by noting how well Rice researched for this novel. Her knowledge of first century Judaism in both Israel and the diaspora is breathtaking and her ability to show the religious and cultural backdrop in which Christ was raised is very admirable. She also excellently handles the task of writing from the perspective of a young narrator, neither making the internal dialogue and introspection too complex to be believable nor too banal to be readable.
What most impressed me about the novel was Rice’s commitment to orthodoxy. Even in the midst of including two tales from the sketchy Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Rice maintained a creedal understanding of Jesus being at all times fully God and fully man. As a Catholic, she also did a good job of credibly establishing Mary’s perpetual virginity and Jesus’ “siblings.” The novel seemed to be an honest labor of love for Rice and not a desire to capitalize on the popularity of faith or Christian fiction in the least.
However, there are big questions that still surround the novel, particularly, “should anyone write anything from the perspective of Christ?” If you believe that writing about Jesus from a first person perspective is wrong, don’t read the book. It’s not so wonderful and incredibly life-changing that I would beg you to give it a try. It may be blasphemous to write as Jesus, it may be unwise, it may be perfectly fine — I’m not willing to venture a guess, myself! I will say that it didn’t bother me much, but portrayals of Christ in general don’t cause issues for me. If you are someone that hated the Passion of the Christ because now every time you imagine Jesus, you picture Jim Caviezel, it might not be a good idea to read the book either. I think different people have different reactions to portrayals of Jesus and some might do well to steer away from them completely. So, I’d hesitate to give this book either a wholehearted recommendation or dismiss it completely. But I will say that I enjoyed it. (From the library.)