An 18 year-old boy, brimming with life and jovial exuberance, finds out that his parents are not really his parents after all. In one night, he finds out that he was not born on August 8th, but on Christmas; he was switched at birth. Amid a whirlwind of unfortunate events, Dennis Shields’ Sigmund begins his fateful journey in God Went Fishing.
He encounters various characters along the way, such as Laszlo, Marnie, Sam, Irving, Yuri, and DeJoseph, and learns many life lessons through them. One of the more genuinely good characters in the story, Jim Crow, sets him on the track to fulfilling his destiny. “You don’t get it. It’s you. One day you’re going to have something to say and it will be great and important and maybe change the world. That’s your destiny,” said Jim solemnly.
Needless to say, Jim Crow’s prophecy comes to fruition; Sigmund discovers his destiny. Throughout his life, Sigmund sees the world through a very unique set of optimistic lenses. Indeed, the Sigmunds in the world cause the rest of us to become more selfless and giving.
Through Sigmund’s letter highlighting the vices of modern society, the author issues a sobering indictment. He states, “Because of greed, narcissism, instant gratification, dishonesty, and the chasing of self power, and prestige, the world has been reduced to misplaced worship of sex, money and power, instead of the appreciation of the greatest good.”
Shields expertly simplifies the ills of society, and the reader, through Sigmund, can’t help but understand the true purpose of this satirical work. The author is all but dismayed at what has happened in this progressive culture. It is at this point that the author goes out on a proverbial limb when he offers Sigmund, his main character, as a modern-day sacrifice.
Sigmund’s sacrifice is captured in the following passage: “Our Father gave us a beautiful world and beautiful souls and His Son. Two thousand years later we turned it into garbage. Did His Son die in vain? Does He have to sacrifice another Son as well?” Sigmund, thus, is portrayed in a Christ-like way, teaching the world how it should live.
Ultimately, the letter goes viral; with seemingly the entire world reading what Sigmund has to say. As a result, representatives of the Vatican, CIA, and many other renowned organizations throughout the world are determined to remove Sigmund from the earth. Sigmund’s fate is sealed: “By night’s end, the killers stabbed, shot, strangled, garroted, poisoned, decapitated, hanged, which was difficult since he no longer had a head, and smothered Sigmund.”
Sigmund’s sacrifice does not go in vain as he has his own sort of ascension to heaven. The book fittingly ends with the passage: “Oh my God, look!” pointing to the large screen TV behind the one-eared bartender. “It’s Sigmund.” By the time they all looked, the camera was focused on Simon Cowell saying, ‘You’re the greatest performer I’ve ever seen. You are the next American Idol.’ The screen is filled with the replay of a bearded Sigmund singing Stairway to Heaven.”
Brilliant; simply brilliant. Readers everywhere will find something to treasure in Dennis Shields’ God Went Fishing. Thoroughly entertaining on its most basic level, this book is emblematic of greatness with its satirical episodes and symbolic characters. A must read for anyone who enjoys allegory and wit at its finest.
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