Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monte Wolverton's 'Chasing 120: A Story of Food, Faith, Fraud and the Pursuit of Longevity' - review by Brad Jersak

I recently glimpsed a Facebook post that said only, 'I hate foodies.' I had no idea what a 'foodie' is so, fancying myself a researcher, I googled it. I discovered a whole new world of grand obsessions (especially with longevity) and frightful intrigues ... most of all, the conspiracies (fictional or not) around GMO food. 

What's a GMO, I asked? Genetically modified food. Now I must say, I'm ever so thankful for seedless grapes ... but some of the other stuff. And how about those mountains of supplements that could genetically modify me? Crikey! 

Nimbly backing out through the door, I moved on in happy denial. Not my cause. But I had to admit, these are the raw materials of a riveting suspense novel. Imagine a GMO backfiring in freakish ways, throw in a cultic-religious movement that offers 12 decades of vitality. Spiritual abuse, dietary legalism and a dangerous GMO twist. Now you've got a plot! 

Well, it depends who writes it. And don't be fooled, novels aren't just retreats from reality. They often bear important truths that non-fiction can never carry past our defenses. In this case, author, artist and syndicated cartoonist Monte Wolverton has delivered a page-turner that both entertains and illuminates the reader. Chasing 120: A Story of Food, Faith, Fraud and the Pursuit of Longevity, unveils Wellness 120, the religious health empire of a manipulative health guru, all allegedly based in Scripture.

The novel is not just fun ... it's important. Even aside from the GMO conspiracies, I believe Wolverton's tale speaks to the deep disillusionment of so many people who've been burned by religious hucksters and corporate pop-gurus--people who've built empires on whatever vulnerabilities we carry in our woundedness. It's not enough to upset ourselves with the injustice of spiritual abuse. We need to ask what conditions set us up for it in the first place. What is the desperate need the charlatans promise to fulfill? Rather than just stealing false hope, might there be a good word that delivers true hope? Monte takes us there in Chasing 120, without platitudes or cliches. It's an excellent read that leads to some healthy thinking.

Click here to find out more:
And here's a great 3 minute Intro with Monte: