Genre

Science Fiction

Audience

Teens

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2021

Themes

Friendship, family, brothers, cancer, lives of the saints

Reviewed by

Tiffany Buck

Caring for someone with cancer is rough― which Razim knows firsthand. He’s staying overnight to care for his friend, Daniel, who’s sick with leukemia. This particular night was difficult. Hoping for a little normalcy, the two try to watch Blade Runner, but Daniel vomits through most of it. Soon after the movie, Daniel falls asleep. Razim has left his phone at home so he picks up a book entitled The Tale of Joseph and Mary.

Razim falls asleep reading the book and dreams of the story of Mary and Joseph. Only Razim is not in Israel, he’s in futuristic Merillia. He’s not Razim either, he’s Cleopas, the younger brother of Jo who is betrothed to young Miryam. From here, we are taken on an imaginative re-telling of the Holy Family told through the eyes of Cleo. Cleo isn’t just Jo’s younger brother, he’s all of us wrestling with a story about a family formed by God to change the world. It is a familiar story that is both simple and yet beyond most of our comprehension. This book written for teens takes us from the betrothal to the happy death of St. Joseph, all while in the futuristic city of Merillia. Imagine Mary on a hover bike instead of a donkey.

I was truly impressed by the depth of St. Joseph’s story in this novel. He is fully imagined with all the trust, courage, devotion and love you expect him to possess.  Full disclosure: the nativity story is probably one of my favorite stories in the Bible. There is so much going on and so much at stake. The nativity has everything a good story needs, but it gets glossed over too often. “Do Carpenters Dream of Wooden Sheep?” didn’t gloss over anything, but expanded upon it. The imagery was vivid and made me look at this story with fresh eyes.

In the back of the book, Ms. Turner invites you to explore St Joseph even further with prayers, discussion questions, and a complete scriptural account of the story. I really enjoyed the going deeper section of the book which explains what the Church teaches about Jesus and Mary.  The prayers included are the year of St. Joseph prayer, the novena to St. Joseph, and the consecration to St. Joseph.

With a little over 100 pages, this is the perfect read for teens or any sci-fi fan that wants a quick read. After reading the first two chapters, I bought a hard copy for myself knowing that in a few years I would like to read this with my daughter. The title, “Do Carpenters Dream of Wooden Sheep?” pays homage to the Philip K. Dick story, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” the inspiration for Blade Runner. I would encourage all teens to read this. It’s fun, fast-paced, and allows you to explore the Holy Family as if they were regular people.

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