I’d like to say I was disturbed by the material, but the truth, as far as I remember, is my overriding emotion while writing God is Dead was amusement. Which obviously says more about me than about the content of the book. My sense of humor tends toward both the dark and the absurd–two great tastes that, in my opinion, taste great together. I will say, though, that a lot of the themes in God is Dead were inspired by what I perceive in the world around me, much of which I find increasingly disturbing, upsetting, and infuriating. As most thoughtful people do. So in a way, turning these real-life horrors on their ear and laughing at them can be curative.
While I’m very cognizant and familiar with the process of a willful protagonist wresting control of a narrative (this happened to me with an earlier unpublished coming-of-age novel I wrote (among my five other unpublished novels) when I was in my 20s. Believe it or not, I really had somewhat of a handle on Will from the start, though Will didn’t have a handle on himself from the start, and I guess that was sort of the point.
Jonathan, I must say you tricked me, not once but several times, in that I convinced myself that the plot was moving in a certain direction only to find out that you were taking your characters elsewhere. This is a very good thing. But the first puzzlement that surfaced while I was playing dodge-ball with this text was why William obsessed about Lulu so much. When Lulu’s face is described early in the book by a reference to Mr. Potato Head (very funny, I must say) I knew what was working on William was more than just Lulu’s looks.