One of the most obvious joys of being an independent book reviewer is coming across books such as William Darrah Whitaker’s My Life as a Sperm. Do you think you’d ever see that prominently displayed in a bookstore beside the newest humdrum romance novel that may be sweeping the nation? And that is exactly why I love what I do.
Whitaker’s tale has Buddy Price, a dead and slimy Hollywood agent, front and center as he meets the big G-O-D at the pearly gates of heaven. If you’re expecting Mel Brook’s Defending Your Life to unfold, think again. Nope – this heaven had a God who’s reached his max with the depravity of humanity and the clear inability for people to just get along. But, being the seedy, shifty agent he once was, Buddy manages to convince God to give him a chance to literally save the world. And God agrees. Let the fun begin.
Despite initially thinking redeeming humanity will be a slam dunk, Buddy soon discovers that he may not be able to be successful in his assignment after all. Buddy comes in possession of The Box, a mysterious entity that has enormous powers and that, obviously, everyone wants their hands on. And so Whitaker delves into a tale where illusions are broken, truths are exposed, and the underlying relationships amongst all human beings are analyzed and commented upon.
The book is a powerful piece in that it unabashedly examines one’s own motivations for the attainment of certain things. Whitaker cleverly introduces characters who all ultimately assist Price in his quest for saving humanity. Despite having a title that does not necessarily speak to the story’s true intents, Whitaker’s book is an interesting take on the power of humanity and the perpetual question of what makes us good.