Reviews for Once More, From the Beginning

Author Wendy Bertsch has penned an intelligent, riotously funny, tongue-in-cheek, yet respectful poke at the Old Testament. And she tells it all from a woman’s perspective! I was utterly entertained from cover to cover. Told in modern language, and always with a touch of sarcasm aimed at the many beliefs and rites affecting womanhood, the book definitely tackles fascinating gender related topics. If you love comics who poke fun at gender differences, then you will adore this book!

The cast of characters in this colorful story includes Jezebel and the Queen of Sheba in addition to Eve and the men in these women’s lives, and many more men and women from the Bible. The dialogue is quippy and clever, and always great fun. In fact, flip the book open to any page, and you will find something that will make you laugh out loud. Some of my favourite scenes pertained to Sodom and Gomorrah and the Coat of Many Colors, but there are so many others, far too numerous to mention, that are equally as entertaining.

Wendy Bertsch has forged a unique trail into a new form of humorous writing. Not only is she gifted with the ability to write comedic fiction, but she does so in a fresh, uninhibited manner that surprises and delights the reader. She is also the author of Dodging Shells, another must read, humorous novel about her father’s adventures in World War II. Having read both books, I strongly recommend them to readers across all genres. I’m eagerly awaiting her next novel. Wendy Bertsch is one of my all-time favourite authors! Read the book and you will see why.

History and Women

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I read Once More…From The Beginning some time ago on Harper & Collins’ highly competitive Authonomy site, a selection process for promising authors. This book more than held its own, comprising, as it does,of competent prose, scintillating wit, an intriguingly different perspective of biblical themes and revealing aspects of the character traits of the major players.
Irreverent but never irreligious its acerbic approach certainly appealed to my sense of fun. An enjoyable and highly recommended read.

Robert Davidson, Author of The Tuzla Run

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This is the word of the Lord. Ah – men!!! But this time, a woman is having her say. This can cause problems. Snorts, guffaws, hooting sounds… disconcerting to those around the reader. But such slight embarrassment is a small price to pay for the delight of reading this glorious, soaring, irreverent* prose. Thanks be to Wendy for showing us the light.
*(Irreverent, but not sacrilegious)

Jane Bailey Bain, Author of Lifeworks

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 While Holy Books abound — it seems just about every religion has one or six — what this reader has always found lacking, is clever discourse on these august works of men. Unbending, rigid repetition has sadly been the primary form of discourse, immediately followed by, “Well, what use of ours could we possibly assign a better reinterpretation to?”

Well, enter author Wendy Bertsch and her absolutely brilliant, running monologue of a book that puts both the rigid adherents and the self righteous “on notice”. As a former student of the ministry myself (really.), I found her humor not only a riot, but I also had to respect her scholarly approach. Among many of the leading religion’s most sacred assembled writings, there is a paucity of leading roles or even handed mention of women or their viewpoints. This work puts this unfortunate situation to bed once and for all.

While it can be used as strictly a read-through entertainment, I also use my copy for blind, “pick-a-page, any page” style relief from moments when a dose of irreverence is absolutely needed. Once More also cries out to be performed. It would be a sold-out show anywhere people enjoy a good laugh and don’t take themselves deadly serious. While I realize the deeply religious will probably not find their inspiration between its covers, they really should. A little laughter can always clear the air when things get stagnant and ossifying. Once More will provide lots and lots of clarity and leave the reader with some… revelations, too. Oops! I hope I haven’t given anything away!

Richard Sutton, Author of The Red Gate

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First of all, if there were a way to give 4.5 stars, I would have done that. This book is surprisingly funny for such a potentially explosive topic. As someone who has, in fact, read the Bible — I didn’t even skip the “begats” — I can also say that Wendy Bertsch does a great job of telling the women’s sides of the story without changing anything that’s actually in the Biblical text. I particularly liked Rahab’s rational decision to help the Israelites.

. . . All in all, I would recommend this for anyone with a good sense of humor — regardless of his or her religious affiliation.

Reviewer’s note and update: I’m bumping my review up a star because I’m still laughing at this book and it’s been more than a week since I read it. A book that sticks with me like that deserves another star.

Susan Wells Bennett, Author of An Unassigned Life

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This is a charming, delightful and downright fun take on many of the well known stories from the Old Testament. Told mainly from the perspective of the women in the stories, while never irreverent, these fresh retellings reveal a history steeped in blatant misogyny, nepotism, racism and abuse. It’s well worth the read (even if you have never read or have no interest in reading The Old Testament) and certainly makes you think of how ‘precarious’ life was in those very dark and oh so politically incorrect days!

Mark Pimbert