Testament of Mary by Coln Toibin

March 2018

The sadness of a mother losing her son was a common theme.

Looking at written email feedback and my memory of verbal comments , reviews were mixed.

The sadness of a mother losing her son was a common theme. Those of us who had a very biblically informed upbringing in the context of an organised religion, found cross referencing the book with the gospels both interesting and perplexing in terms of which gospel “stories” were alluded to and which omitted . It also provoked discussion on the reliability of the gospels as historical narrative or just politicking.

There were differing views on the motivations of Jesus’ behaviour to his mother , for example was his distancing himself a way of protecting her from what was known to be a dangerous association or arrogance as he fulfilled his mission?

Some readers loved the way the book was written, and found the voice of the male author, authentic as a mother , others though found it slow and the audible narration by Meryl Streep was definitely hard work and mono tonal !

The graphic representation of the torture and crucifixion was challenging .

Comparison to the Life Of Brian offered a lighter note, but was Brian's mother's protestation in this film that her son was not the messiah rather “a very naughty boy” just intended humour or underpinned by the more serious concept of a mother protecting her son ?