Authors like reviews. I received a very kind and lengthy review of Tom Irregardless and Me from Ivor E. Tower. Authors are grateful for a review of one or two lines. Mr. Tower goes several paragraphs and illuminates some of the ‘Tom Irregardless and Me’ characters. He is a non-Witness scholar who has written extensively about Jehovah’s Witnesses and his real name is recognizable to studious readers of Watchtower material:
“Tom Harley’s Tom Irregardless and Me has been described as “a romping and riotous defense of Jehovah's Witnesses and their place in today’s world.” This really sums up the book, which is a light-hearted look at numerous aspects of the Watch Tower Society from the perspective of a practicing Jehovah’s Witness in the US.
“To the outsider, Jehovah’s Witnesses may seem deadly serious and preoccupied exclusively with their religion and the Society’s own publications. Harley dispels this stereotype. The book is about real people and issues, although the author has changed the names of rank-and-file members to preserve name anonymity. Tom Irregardless is an elder who uses the spurious word “irregardless” liberally in his Bible talks. Other characters include John Wheatnweeds, who hinders members from their house-to-house ministry by spending inordinate amounts of time expounding the text of the day before they set out. Then there is posh brandy-sipping Bernard Strawman, who receives frequent visits from the publishers, but continues to raise facile objections to their faith. Vic Vomidog, an apostate, repeatedly seeks to hamper their work. Other chapters are about real JW celebrities such as Prince, who is the subject of an entire chapter.
“Despite being light-hearted throughout, Tom Harley raises serious issues such as flag salutes, Darwinism and creationism, theocratic government, the paedophile scandals and the dangers of online grooming of minors, and the accuracy of the New World Translation of the Bible. Tom shows a remarkable breadth of knowledge and reading too – he has by no means exclusively studied Watch Tower publications.
“My favourite part of the book was the parody of Mickey Spillane near the end, where Tom Harley envisages a house-to-house publisher acting like one of Spillane’s macho characters. For those who don’t know, Spillane was a novelist whose books were renowned for their sex and violence, until Spillane converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness in 1951 – a decision that drastically changed his writing style.
“Tom Hartley states that he hopes Tom Irregardless is “entertaining but serious at heart”. This sums up the book well. It’s a good read, while providing valuable insights into life as a JW.”
I’m very grateful to Mr. Tower. They line up around the block for a recognized name like John Grisham or Stephen King, but it is extraordinary difficult for a new writer to break into the ranks. ‘Recall how many books you have purchased in the past year from a totally unknown writer,” one source advises. “Now you know why you should not become an author."
I was a little worried at first that JW opposers, who can be quite nasty, would try to sink my infant book with horrid reviews, like Herod and the infants of Jerusalem. But now, even if that were to happen, I would draw the contrast between those and 8 glowing reviews and say something like: 'that says it all,' putting it where it first catches the eye. It might even help the book.