Rating:

Reviewed by Jill Franclemont

How to Pick a Religion: A Consumer’s Guide. What a great title. And the jacket blurb is even better: “entertaining yet factual consumer guide… a no-nonsense cost-benefit analysis of your religious options… help you find the best religion for you, to secure a place in the next life, while still making the most of this one.”

Teehee. Sounds delightful, no, with tremendous snark-potential? I thought so too. Alas, alack – not so much.

In truth, I felt that the book offered much more on the factual side than on the entertainment side. Which is perfectly fine and useful and all that, but not exactly what I was expecting. It is organized by the elements of life (money, sex, food, worship and contemplation, death and the afterlife), and compares the relevant dogma of the major world’s religions on each of those elements. It is, quite literally, organized like a consumer’s guide to buying a television or new car.

Which, when I think about it, IS kind of snarky. Just not the way I envisioned.

The writing style is educational, informative, and pleasantly enjoyable. The organization is clever and useful. I originally thought it was intended to be a funny book that offered some information. After reading it, I believe it’s quite the opposite. This really is intended to be a consumer’s guide to making a decision on the deeply divisive, controversial, and extraordinarily personal issue of religious belief.

It was not quite the book I thought it would be. But if you’re looking for a Theology 101 or Comparative Religions 102 overview – or to actually pick a religion – then this is a great place to start.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill-Elizabeth walked away from that world (well, skipped actually) and toward a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable). 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Hodder & Stoughton. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.