Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Book: The Sexy Part of the Bible by Kola Boof

Written by Nicola Goldberg
Active Image
 

If Toni Morrison read a lot of Philip K. Dick, she might have written something like The Sexy Part of the Bible. The novel is thematically similar to The Bluest Eye, examining the heartbreaking toll that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed standard of beauty takes on those who do not fit it. The protagonist, Eternity Frankenheimer, is the clone of Mother Orisha, an Ajowan woman who was kicked to death in the streets for trying to stop young people from “swallowing skin-lightening pills and bleaching themselves.” When the novel opens, Stevedore, the white man who cloned and raised Eternity, is dying, and she is pregnant with his child. The novel only becomes more bizarre, and more disturbing, from there.


If Toni Morrison read a lot of Philip K. Dick, she might have written something like The Sexy Part of the Bible. The novel is thematically similar to The Bluest Eye, examining the heartbreaking toll that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed standard of beauty takes on those who do not fit it. The protagonist, Eternity Frankenheimer, is the clone of Mother Orisha, an Ajowan woman who was kicked to death in the streets for trying to stop young people from “swallowing skin-lightening pills and bleaching themselves.” When the novel opens, Stevedore, the white man who cloned and raised Eternity, is dying, and she is pregnant with his child. The novel only becomes more bizarre, and more disturbing, from there.

For a such a serious novel about race and gender, The Sexy Part of the Bible is weirdly addicting. Eternity is an engrossing narrator, simultaneously tragic and energetic. The prose is sprinkled with some truly astonishing turns of phrase: “bones resist but crack like celery,” “honey-pineapple fashion-model good looks,” “the charcoal that creates diamonds.” The novel, unfortunately, looses focus towards the end. While the sci-fi elements of the beginning are shocking and strange, the final chapters just seem random. Still, I couldn’t have stopped reading if I tried.

It is difficult to talk about Kola Boof without mentioning the controversies surrounding her, which you can read about quite extensively on her site. However, she is first and foremost, a writer. For the uninitiated, I’d strongly recommend reading the book first and researching the author after. It’s difficult, otherwise, to separate the author from her protagonist, and Eternity deserves your full attention.

Share this post