Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit by Thomas L McRae

Book Review: Pimp in the Pulpit, by Thomas Leslie McRae

As Lillian McBride’s 95th birthday party approaches, her own viciousness is in competition with her nasty, self-centred offspring and extended family.


With the word Pulpit in the title followed by a dedication to God, and ‘our Lord and Saviour’ as the first acknowledgment, you could be forgiven for assuming that Pimp in the Pulpit is a religious text of some kind. It is not.

As the western world becomes progressively less religious, Thomas Leslie McRae has made an unfortunate marketing mistake because non-religious folk will probably put the book aside without delving beyond the author’s passionate religious beliefs across the first few pages.

McRae’s short story is, in fact, hysterically funny, not so much from the appalling antics of a highly dysfunctional family, but from the way it’s told. I utterly loved McRae’s voice, which is like that of an embarrassingly hick uncle who is nonetheless good with the kids. I hung on every word and lapped up the story entirely because of the way it is told.

This is not a book for kids, incidentally. There’s a lot of foul language and inexcuseable behaviour to be found between the pages. The action centres around the upcoming 95th birthday celebration of Lillian McBride – also known as ‘Lucifer’ by her adult offspring. Lillian is a foul-mouthed, nasty matriarch who, in the opening scene, leaves a message on her daughter’s answering machine calling her a bitch just for not answering the phone.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree however, and most of the characters in Pimp in the Pulpit are despicable, but deliciously so under the watchful eye of the storyteller. Through a series of vignettes, we experience the selfishness, nastiness and, surprisingly, the occasional underlying love that exists between various members of the extended family.

Pimp in the Pulpit is a quick read, but one that can be enjoyed several times over. Spread out the kitty litter, grab a cuppa, and let the cat fights begin.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 10:  8

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Release date: December 2016
RRP: $8 paperback

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