The Expected One

The Expected One is by Kathleen McGowan. I'd heard about it from Nancy on her blog Crazed Mom. I posted a pre-review of sorts last week when I'd read the first 80 pages and didn't like it at all. However while I still hold to those criticisms I think the book is quite interesting and for some people it'd be a great book to read. I'm very glad I read it and might well buy the sequels that are sure to follow.

While many of the standard writing devices don't work well in McGowan's hands, her novel is a very interesting one. Working in soil already tilled by Brown's wildly popular and poorly written book, The DaVinci Code, McGowan makes a much more interesting case for historical oversight. In this book McGowan hypothesizes that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, which is pretty safe territory these days, but also says that Mary was first the wife of John the Baptist before he lost his head in politics.

I'm agnostic so I only know the ins and outs of Christianity from an outsider's perspective. If you want to read a very interesting review of this book from someone more "in-the-fold" then go here. This review also details some of the weirder antics of McGowan and her fans in trying to get good press for the book. It's amusing. You see, McGowan claims that she has source material for some of the claims in her book--which would have to be over 2,000 years old--and insinuates that the number of secret societies that she refers to really exist and are a current threat to some people (presumably McGowan herself for revealing "the truth").

Despite the feeling that McGowan is a nut case, I recommend the book on the following grounds. The plot driven parts of the book flow quite well for the 370 pages after the original setup. McGowan has some trouble with detail (for example she refers to a fortress as impregnable immediately after saying everyone that escaped there had been captured and executed--maybe she just meant that the building couldn't bear children) but if you don't nit-pick when reading, this book works quite well as a novel. It's also quite interesting for the Christians and New Age folk among us as long as you don't mind a few sacred cows being toyed with. McGowan really, really doesn't like John the Baptist. Be warned! But the biggest reason to read the book is the well written passages excerpted from a fictional diary that Mary Magdalene kept. This first hand testimony to ancient biblical events would have been one of the Gospels had it not been hidden all these 2,000 years. Mary's story is quite compelling.

The end of this book, which centers around the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, sets up a sequel to this book which will probably focus more on Jesus. While in this book, The Expected One, you see a very personal view of Jesus from Mary's perspective, there remains the Gospel of Love, which according to McGowan is the Gospel that Jesus wrote himself. While it sounds like a tacky 70's love song, it might make for a very interesting book. After all, maybe McGowan has seen the real thing. (but I have some doubts)


NAncy said…
I totally agree w. this and some of the comments you made on my blog.

The main charecter can be a PIA. And, I agree, the best parts of the book are Mary's diary. I found those pages so compelling. And, the whole thing w. John the Baptist: interesting!

I do wonder about McGowan. And, that makes the whole thing even more interesting!

I will go read about her antics,now. SHe probably wishes for the success Dan Brown had w. the DaVinci Code. And, what author wouldn't?

I always wonder why people get so crazed at the thought of Jesus being married. I mean he was a healthy man, right?
utenzi said…
...and Rabbis are expected to be married. Even more so back then than now. It would have been quite unusual for Jesus not to have a wife. Of course being the son of God might make for an unusual life. So who knows...
Pearl said…
My memory being what it is, have I already got a comment in moderation saying that the CSS fix worked?

It looks good now.

Also, yep, our condo's been on the market (us living under 2 mortgages) for quite long enough now.
Pearl said…
It had better be well paced for that length. Kudos for you for sticking around for 80 lukewarm pages. I usually give about 3 page leeway for a book to make itself excellent to me or I'm gone.

Sounds like a book that strikes while the gospels are hot. Who could have seen that trend coming.
Anonymous said…
I think it's interesting how many authors are writing about Mary Magdalene. "The Priest's Madonna," a pretty good read, also devoted much of it's story line to a fictional diary written by Mary.

Toying with sacred cows.. ha! That line mad me crack up. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

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