Skip to main content

Book Review: The Gospel According to Josh

Author: Josh Rivedal
Published: 2013
Publisher: Skookum Hill
Number of Pages:
My Rating: 3

Summary from
By the time Josh Rivedal turned twenty-five, he thought he'd have the perfect life-a few years singing on Broadway, followed by a starring role in his own television show. After which, his getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and his face would grace the cover of the National Enquirer as Bigfoot's not-so-secret lover. Instead, his resume is filled with an assortment of minor league theatre and an appearance on The Maury Povich Show-a career sidetracked by his father's suicide, a lawsuit from his mother over his inheritance, and a break-up with his long-term girlfriend. Tortured by his thoughts, he finds himself on the ledge of a fourth floor window, contemplating jumping out to inherit his familial legacy. In turn he must reach out to the only person who can help him before it's too late. Based in part on his acclaimed one-man show, The Gospel According to Josh is a comedic and poignant true-to-life tale of love, loss, struggle, and survival-a gospel account of one young man's passage into manhood-his twenty-eight-year Gentile bar mitzvah.

This book was funny. Heartbreaking. Hopeful. And tear inducing. But most of all, this book was a pleasant surprise.

I will admit, I was a little apprehensive about reading and reviewing this book when approached by Josh Rivedal’s rep as it is a memoir about someone who seems to have had anything but a happy and jolly life. Even though initially unsure, I am glad that I took a chance and read this one- it will stick with you.

Josh Rivedal’s childhood was not a joyous one and it all began with his father and grandfather, who committed suicide. While he has a few happy memories with his father, most of those are overshadowed by the verbal and emotional abuse he gives him, not to mention the occasional physical beating he gets as punishment. Desperate for a relationship with this man, he gives up on this hope and instead focuses on his acting career in New York City.

Crushed by the news of his parents’ ensuing divorce, he thinks that a silver lining might be the rebuilding of his relationship with his father, and it is, for awhile. Suddenly, all dreams of this budding relationship are squashed when his father commits suicide. Josh is forced to face a lot of demons while mourning his father’s death, and all of his family members cope in different ways. As he tries to deal with the loss of his father, the lawsuit he is in with his mother due to their father’s estate, his declining relationship with his long-term girlfriend, and his lack of an acting career, Josh sees his life downward spiral and he too feels like he will follow in his destined footsteps and take his own life.

It is at his lowest point that he has a revelation and realizes what his life purpose is- he should use his acting and writing talents to help others dealing with depression and suicide by writing educational and engaging plays about these topics. And he does just that, all over college campuses, teaching and helping others. This is where the story ends us, with a glimmer of hope for our dear Josh.

Overall, this was a pretty hard book to read. As I described, Josh’s life was anything but happy and he talks about his father’s death and his feelings about it in extreme detail. I actually had to stop reading for a couple of days at this part, as it was that sad. Needless to say, this book evoked some strong emotions in me, which is why I gave it a 3 out of 5 rating. I could not go any higher, however, because it was very depressing at times to read and it sometimes made me feel hopeless for Josh and where his life was going to go. 

I am glad I read the book and learned more about his mission, as it is something I strongly agree with and think that we need to address more openly in our country. Depression and suicide are normally pretty taboo topics that unfortunately don’t get talked about as often as they should. Mental health is a huge issue in our country and many people don’t know where to start in asking for help. Through his plays as well as his book, I feel like Josh Rivedal is doing a great job taking that first step for people and reaching out to them. A brave man who has overcome his own many obstacles and is helping others overcome theirs.

-Busy Brunette 


  1. good post :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Before We Were Yours

My Rating: 5
It has been about a month since I finished this book and it honestly took me that long to recover enough in order to write a review.
Before We Were Yours is one of the best books I have ever read, and if you know me at all, you would realize I don’t toss that statement around lightly. By saying that, however, in no way am I saying that this is a happy read, because it is also one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I have ever read in my life, as well.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals (although the main characters are fictional), the story is that of Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, who would kidnap poor children and then sell them to wealthy families all over the country from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings are the victims of this type of crime, and half of the book is their journey and fight to get back home. The other half is that of present-day Avery, a prose…

Book Review: Pretty Girls

My Rating: 4
Have you ever read a book that was so dark and twisted that you literally felt like you lost a piece of your innocence after finishing it? Yeah, that’s what I felt as I was reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.
Needless to say, this book threw me for quite the loop. I was expecting a story about missing girls (which I got), what I wasn’t expecting, however, was an extremely graphic tale of violence and gore full of shocking scenarios and senseless acts that would leave me slightly traumatized and lying awake at night thinking about (which is what I also got).
I’m not trying to be dramatic with this review, but honestly, this book will seriously mess you up. It is not at all for the faint of heart and it will exhaust you every time you finish a chapter. Still with me? Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Pretty Girls was a crazy psychological thriller that continued to throw plot twists and mysteries at me until I didn’t think I could handle it anymore, then it took a sharp left…

Book Review: The Good Widow

My Rating: 4
I finished this book in under two days. TWO DAYS. Given the fact that I have a toddler now, that's saying something.

The Good Widow is about Jacks, a woman who finds out that her husband has died in a tragic car accident when on his business trip to Kansas. Or so she thought. Turns out he died in Hawaii… with another woman.

Now Jacks is left with not only the devastating blow that her husband was lying to her about his whereabouts, but also the fact that he was having an affair, as well. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life when the other woman’s fiancĂ© arrives at her door, left with the same questions Jacks has about the mystery surrounding their deaths. Together, they will try to find out the truth about who their significant others really were.

The book had a lot of twists and turns I never saw coming. I liked how it switched perspectives and timelines of before/after the accident, as I felt this made the pace go a lot faster. The feelings the characters had…