All that needs to be said for why this well-acclaimed "classic" was rejected by this critic is two bits of dialogue that I will directly quote from the book.
Leslie: That whole Jesus thing, it's really interesting.
Aarons Children: It's not interesting. It's scary! It's nailing holes through your hands. It's 'cause we're all vile sinners. God made Jesus die.
Leslie: You really think that's true?
Aarons Children: It's in the Bible.
Leslie: You have to believe it, and you hate it. I don't have to believe it, and I think it's beautiful.
Aarons Children: You gotta believe the Bible, Leslie.
Maybelle Aarons: 'Cause if you
don't believe in the Bible, God will damn you to hell when you die.
Leslie: Wow, May Belle. Where'd you hear that?
Maybelle Aarons: That's right, huh, Jess? God damns you to hell if you don't believe in the Bible.
Jesse Aarons: I think so.
Leslie: Well, I don't think so. I seriously do not think God goes around damning people to hell. He's too busy running all this.
And later, when Leslie dies, Jess asks his dad, "Is it like the Bible says? Is she going to hell?"
His dad answers, "I don't know everything about God, but I do know he's not going to send that little girl to hell."
This book is complete blasphemy against God's Word. How utterly horrifying to see a child go to church, hear a message about Jesus' death, and then reject Him.
Scripture Verses for Discussion:
Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 20:12-15, John 3:18, Mark 8:36