List of Da Vinci Code book reviews starting with J


Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 5/5
The Da Vinci Code
Now I Understand the Brouhaha


Call me cantankerous but when I hear, "You must read this book," or "You'll love this movie," my first thought is "No, I mustn't" or "No, I won't." I have been disappointed too many times by the misleading commercial success of a book or movie to expect much from such recommendations. Major disappointments that come to mind include the movie "Pretty Woman" and any novel written by Nicholas Sparks. Despite my misgivings, on the recommendation of my brother-in-law the intellectual, I cracked open The DaVinci Code with low expectations and immediately found myself caught up in the puzzlement of a gruesome, after-hours crime scene in the very secure Louvre. Having spent 12 years as an earnest Catholic school girl, this book set my brain on fire. A usually passive reader too lazy to look up the occasional unfamiliar word, I found myself racing to Google on claims Dan Brown made regarding classic art, religious history, mystical numbers and such. Years ago, E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime captivated me in a like manner by mixing historical fact with fiction. It is the reader's decision where to draw the line between fiction and fact, and I find it fascinating to have to ponder where that line actually falls while reading a novel.The DaVinci Code is not great literature but it is a great book: the plot unfolds at a rapid-fire pace, the characters are likeable although trite and the points it makes about DaVinci's art and a secret code fascinated.



Product: Book Paperback
Title: Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts
Publisher: Cook Communications
Authors: James Garlow
Rating: 1/5
Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts
Stay away from this book. These men are dangerous.


This is without a doubt the worst book I have read in a very long time. Under the guise of helping the reader separate the fact from the fiction Garlow and Jones have created a hateful piece of propaganda. There are so many things wrong with Cracking, that I hardly know where to start. The writing is insulting, most if not all of the arguments are repetitive and have only circular logic, the authors skew history as much as they accuse Brown of doing, and in the end all that surfaces is a list of things the authors believe are bad. All the questions come from the "how to craft leading questions to get the answers we want" school of writing which is just insulting to even the most unsophisticated readers.

Make no mistake where The da Vinci Code was a mediocre work of fiction, (for a better read try Eco's work) Cracking, is a Non-Fiction/Christian Living/Contemporary Issues work of poison. While the idea that people are reading The Code and taking it for fact, the idea that people are taking Cracking seriously is far more disturbing to me.

Garlow and Jones make both open and thinly veiled attacks on everyone who is not them, and despite this list of people who are going to hell, I never could find just what exactly the authors thought was the Right/Christian way to live. Go figure. Weirdly enough, at least to me, the authors approve of Mel Gibson's Passion. One would think that the work was tinged enough with apocryphal and extra-Biblical work, along with the deathbed visions of German Nun Ann Catherine Emmerich to scare off Garlow and Jones' purist pretensions. Apparently not.

Just in case you wonder the authors hate all the usual suspects gays, lesbians, "feminists" (which for reasons unknown is always written this way), pagans, Muslims, Jews and the Catholic Church, the occult, Women's study groups, premarital sex, and abortion. But there are some kind of surprises, they also hate smokers, drinkers, single moms, small families, birth control, anything Eastern that is therefore tinged with Paganism including yoga, chanting, music, meditation, women in the work force and out of the home, free thinking, liberals and liberal collages, anyone who disagrees with them, immodest dress on women, authors who write about subjects they disagree with including Shirley MacLaine, Sue Monk Kid, Elaine Pagels and Dominique Crosson, along with a whole host of other people, places, things and thoughts.

There is a very negative message to this book that extends way beyond guiding readers away from Browns writings. The authors truly believe the reason we feel as thought something is broken is because something is broken. The reason we feel guilty is because we are guilty. (231) They think there is a very real spiritual war going on in America and that Christians are looking religious and political power to have things their way. (227) The authors also vehemently criticize what they call the Goddess bringing good news. In Garlow and Jones own words it is wrong to hope for or think that the Goddess will put our world together again. Humankind is wrong to think that She will unite ecological wisdom, economic justice, human rights, women's liberation, equality and harmony between the sexes, pan-sexual freedom, personal significance, global peace, religious unity, utopian dreams, life on our own terms, and deep spirituality. (222) They offer nothing as an alternative, not even a hearty read your Bible and see what you are missing.


These men are dangerous. Not only do they believe that those who do not worship as they do are absolutely wrong, they are actively campaigning for others to believe the same way. With all their explaining, circle talking and insistence on "The Truth" Garlow and Jones do not ever clearly articulate what it is exactly that they believe. All the reader is left with is page after page of hateful, argumentative, ugly reasoning why everyone who is different is wrong.




Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 3/5
The Da Vinci Code
Enjoyable, but...


I enjoyed reading this book BUT if your main interest in this book is learning things about early Christianity that the average Christian doesn't want you to know, you are better off reading something else because Brown gets too many facts wrong to be trusted. It is simply wrong, for example, to say that no one thought of Jesus as divine until the Council of Nicea. (What about the docetists?) There were in fact a variety of early views that clashed. Try reading instead The Secret Gospel by Morton Smith. There are no car chases in Smith's book, but it is an interesting account of finding what seems to be a passage from a secret gospel of Mark. Moreover, it shows how a real scholar thinks, which includes considering alternative explanations. And Smith's conclusions are quite unorthodox, if that's what you're looking for.



Product: Book Hardcover
Title: Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code
Publisher: Perseus Books Group Rating: 1/5
Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code
COME ON!


Burstein's book starts out in good faith-- to point out what parts of the Da Vinci Code are factual and to further explain them. However, it is soon realized that the book could be abridged to approximately ten pages without any loss of thought whatsoever. The first section is Mary Magdalene. Twenty pages later the section is still continuing, which may not be so bad if the issue was that comprehensive, however, Burnstein's source material is totally uninteresting and so repetitive and reiterated that it dulls the topic instead of making it interesting.Burnstein uses little if no source material from Christian or Catholic apologetics (there is a little box on one page that actual does name Christian defenses but it does not even explain the view points). All of the writers are radical liberals and the "conservatives" he names are more like center leaning liberals. Obviously Christian and/or Catholic apologetics should be consulted for a book explaining attacks on their nature. Other reviews mention that this book represents a wide range of views--but it doesn't.Burnstein's book makes the assumption that the reader has below average intelligence. In one section there is a question and answer to events in the Da Vinci Code. One question : Does the ODAN (an Opus Dei "watch group") exist? First of all, the website URL is mentioned in the Da Vinci Code--any half wit would be able to type it into the internet.An author who writes about future economics and who describes himself as an amateur in the genre that this book is written should NOT write a book about the Da Vinci Code.



Product: Book Hardcover
Title: The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition
Publisher: Doubleday
Authors: Dan Brown
Rating: 4/5
The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition
Still Stirring Things Up...


Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" is an interesting book for a number of reasons. It is entertaining yet essentially light reading. It is also filled with tantalizing bits of information about the history of Christianity and a miriad of other related topics including paganism, Gnosticism, The Knights Templar, art history, and the Holy Grail.

The most fascinating aspect of this novel is the overwhelming public interest and controversy surrounding many of the assertions Brown makes in this book. It may be safe to assume that most people have little or no previous exposure to these topics and it certainly has generated extreme controversy in Christian circles. There are no less than 20 books in print that attempt to support or refute the information found in "The Da Vinci Code". I have never seen such polarization over a work of fiction before. That said, this illustrated edition is just the kind of thing to not only make the reading experience more enjoyable and interesting, but to continue to stir things up by providing visual references for the works of art, architecture, and religious symbology discussed in the text. Here it is pretty hard to dispute some of the things Brown talks about when it is staring at you in living color. This would seem to give the book's many detractors more work to do also.

"The Da Vinci Code" is not great literature by any means, but it is entertaining nonetheless. I would recommend it especially for the simple fact that it presents ideas that make people think. This was obviously not the original intent of this work of fiction, but has turned out to be one of its strongest selling points.



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