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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
In the entertaining and thought-provoking fiction novel, Holy Fool by Kenneth Butler, a materialistic husband and father decides to become a priest after surviving a car accident. George St. Hilaire is a shrewd and competitive man in every aspect of his life, and his prominent concerns are his business and making money. Sissy, his wife, is a chain smoking, alcoholic adulteress, who isn't satisfied with her life, but can't seem to change it. Brendan O'Toole is a priest facing the dilemma of a mid-life crisis of faith. After George is in a car accident and is in a coma, their lives converge. When George awakens from his coma, he announces to his stunned family that he has decided to close the family company, give their money away to charities, and become a priest.
After finding him lying on the roof, naked, Sissy encourages George to voluntarily enter a mental facility to help him regain his sanity. However, the doctors declare George psychologically fit. Meanwhile, Brendan is trying to help George understand that it is highly unlikely that he can become a priest, but George is insistent that God will help him. Then, unexpectedly, George runs away from the hospital. Convinced that George is not mentally well, Sissy and Brendan combine their efforts and search for him. As they arrive at each place where George has sojourned, Sissy and Brendan are amazed by the way that George has changed the lives of those he's touched. What has happened to George? Has he lost his mind or has George actually had a miraculous spiritual encounter?
Holy Fool by Kenneth Butler is an intriguing fiction novel depicting a near-death experience and its aftermath. The story is a thought-provoking satire, relating the impact and effect the NDE has on the lives of the characters who have contact with the survivor. It is an amusing portrayal of how people can react when materialism and immorality collide with religion and spiritual birth, and the fallout from the collision. Sissy's and Brendan's characters have distinctive aspects, and it is fascinating to follow their characters as they experience personal growth. George's character is enigmatic; his personality is obscure and mysterious, leaving the reader to question his identity. Is George still George? This is an incredible fiction novel with just a hint of the paranormal relating to spirituality. Those who like exploring the transcendental and paranormal side of the universe will enjoy reading this book.