_Handling Sin_ is, in my opinion, Michael Malone's best book to date. It provides excellent satire on politics, social trends, race relations, "political correctness," classism in general but particularly in the South, relations between the sexes, religious hypocrisy, and many other subjects of weight. It also provides a lot of interesting, well-researched historical information about the South from an author who, even as he pokes fun of its shortcomings, clearly loves it with all of his heart. This book doesn't take itself too seriously and is so downright pointlessly silly over and over that I laughed out loud. By underneath and through all its many forms of humor, biting, silly, sarcastic, slapstick, goofy, or deliciously sly, this book sneaks up on you, surprising with much genuine sweetness and, in the end, unabashed reverence for love, family, God, faith, basic human decency and kindness, and the goodness of life.
Because this book was written in the early 80's, a time before the internet, cell phones, and other technological and cultural trends of our day, someone who reads it today might not find it nearly as funny as I did when I first read it around 20 years ago. And unlike Malone's other books, there are no murder mysteries or many admirable public officials to be found. But as regrettable as that may be for some, I believe that for the underlying messages of good will and faith and sweetness, _Handling Sin_ is well worth reading all the same.