According to the official version, John Kennedy Toole wrote this novel when he was 15 years old.
Then he decided to bury the original manuscript of "The Neon Bible" in a drawer considering it too juvenile and immature to have any chance to be published.
Twenty years later, Toole's mother opened that drawer.
The novelist had just obtained success with "A Confederacy of Dunces", thanks to the determination of a small editor who published that novel after a dozen refusals.
Unfortunately Toole's honours were posthumous, in fact the writer had committed suicide a few years before without even trying to send his last manuscript to a publishing firm.
Once again, it was his mother who decided for him.
But let's return to The Neon Bible.
This book is good, but it becomes an astonishing work of genius if we think that the pen behind it is the one of a young boy. There are moments in which John Kennedy Toole looks like an early master of literature. A good example could be the sublime description of an American Preacher speech, one of those Midwest Messiahs who encourage masses of villains to believe in God's sake, calling them sinners and pagans.
And the way in which Toole puts himself in the shoes of the main character of the novel is great. When I discovered the novelist had more or less the same age of the protagonist when he wrote this novel I simply couldn't believe it.