“V. little readable and funny book on authenticity, self-righteousness and the gospel”
Faker is humorously laced with McDonald's own story, including typically teenage struggles (as well as present battles), but the heart of his book sees him explain and apply the short parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, which Jesus tells in Luke 18:9-14. His conviction is that much 'faking it' is rooted in both fear and self-righteousness, and it is only an encounter with Jesus that confronts these.
Every chapter begins with a quotation from a contemporary film or book, from Tony Stark in Iron Man through to Gaga and The Hunger Games, with McDonald illustrating how the issues the parable raises are weaved into our culture and world. The clean font and blog-style paragraphing, along with quirky little line drawings by André Parker all mean Faker is a pleasant and easy read. The style and tone means McDonald is definitely writing for a 'youthful' reader, but that could feasibly be anyone from 14-30, and even beyond that.
However, don't read any of that as suggesting Faker is 'light'. McDonald isn't afraid to unpack concepts that he considers critical to understanding Jesus' parable, even when they aren't necessarily everyday concepts. He shows why the tax collector's cry for "mercy" is actually a plea for propitiation, and what that word means anyway (and why it matters)! He reflects on why a God of love is not at odds with a God of holiness, and how that can be. He's a clear and engaging teacher who can tell a good yarn, and evidently he has a real passion for seeing young people engage with the gospel in such a way that its embedded into everyday issues and currents.
If you're looking for a short but stimulating summer read, something to give to a young friend or relative, or even something for a camp bookstall, Faker is a worthy choice.
Full disclosure: The author sent me a copy of the book for free, but I hope this is still a fair and honest review!