Controversial, timely, and relevant. Doesn’t matter who you are, you can learn something from this.
Be moved by this compelling journey of homosexuality, pride, and surrender. Jackie Hill Perry grew up in Saint Louis and was fresh out of high school when she came into her identity as a lesbian. Then one 2008 morning in bed with her girlfriend, God’s voice startled her to attention. His words: “She will be the death of you.”
What followed was an unbelievably difficult choice that every desire inside her rejected. Yet she tells this story, sharing how that choice was the best one she ever made.
Quality of Story: 5/5
Jackie alternates chapters between chronicling the growth in her identity and providing a comprehensive understanding of the Bible’s message on sin and salvation. With the utmost integrity, she doesn’t forsake her voice (full of slang, humor, and jaw-dropping prose) to sound like anyone but herself. She also veils the grisly details of her story in allusions and beautiful language, keeping her memoir focused. Never have I read a more brutally honest, raw, and fearless redemption testimony.
Quality of Character Development: 5/5
I visualized her, her mother, her girlfriends, and her future husband, but I didn’t stagger under the weight of physical descriptions or personality development. Her style spoke for itself. It was like a conversation. Jackie knew exactly how much information to give me so I might see the world, and the people she loved, through her eyes.
Quality of World: 5/5
Had I not read her manuscript in its whole, I may have criticized the general lack of setting imagery. But her memoir’s artistry requires that I lay down the writer’s rule book that I cling to so tightly. She world-built when it was necessary to immerse the reader in her tale, to make them feel what she felt.
Writing Style? Hallelujah, praise God for originality!
If I’ve learned anything from college, it’s this: There are writing rules everyone must follow. Then, once you’ve mastered those, you can break them.
Jackie is one of those few. By the end of the book, I didn’t care about her incomplete sentences. All I knew was I had read something rich and priceless, and I wanted to treasure her pages as much as I wanted to share them the whole world.
I fully recommend this read to anyone who’s looking for a fresh, counter-cultural perspective on a much-debated topic. Whether or not you agree with her conclusions, you’ll leave wiser and better educated by this wonder of a woman and poet.