Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry
Extra-long review. Spoiler Alert
How does a self-described sexual, carnal, sin-loving lesbian turn her life around? Jackie Hill Perry writes a mesmerizing memoir about her journey from a practicing homosexual to the speaking circuit's evangelical darling.
Perry's command of the sentence articulates like a spoken word poet reciting on a stage. The author addresses her deprived childhood, the desire to be loved and noticed, her prayers for an accepting father, and the repeated wishes to stop the molester who violated her life.
Carefully crafted into this memoir is a person's incredible conversion experience. Perry describes how God confronted her in such a touching manner; it will bring tears to the reader's eyes. More profound was Perry's repentance and desire to be a changed person. This book's pinnacle is found in the final few pages in Chapter 8, where she describes the deep, personal love she experienced by God.
The first half of the book is the setup. The author describes her carnal ways; the partying, the womanizing, the desire and lust that controlled her in every way. Then, she shares a Paul-like conversation that catapults her life into rapid change. Suddenly, the reader is astounded to learn that she is now carrying a baby and is married to a man. How in the world did that happen?
Luckily, the book pace slows down, and the author takes you on a detour to help fill in the blanks. Her honest portrayal of trying to love a man for the first time, and becoming accepting of his courtship, is remarkable and sad. She wants so badly to be "right with God" to force herself to make herself love him (through open communication, coaching, prayer, and counseling.)
The concluding chapters of the book address the cynical and suspicious problem readers are asking. Perry is clear to say that her "conversion" may not resemble other's experiences. However, she is also very clear that living the homosexual lifestyle is not following God's desires.
She offers many suggestions and statements to support their stance. In the concluding chapter, she shares the story of Jesus mixing mud by spitting on the ground (Mark 8). While the healing was instantaneous, it required some effort on the man's part. To fully experience sight, he would need to "go and wash" in the Pool of Siloam. In the same way, Perry argues that homosexual must do some things on their own to experience a full miracle. They, too, will need to put some effort by deciding on no longer love someone of the same sex.
The author also makes a powerful statement about Jesus' suffering on the cross. She recalls that Jesus asked God to "take this away" (See Luke 22:42). But God was silent, knowing that Jesus was going to have to endure suffering. In the same way, she insinuates that homosexuals will have to suffer through thier own pain and suffering.
The author writes a powerful testimony that is redemptive and grace-filled. A testimony is a personal story that cannot be refuted. She is careful not to assert her story on everybody else. I appreciated how she criticizes the homogeneous Christian culture that expects everyone to be married.
While the author's transformation is one in a million, it is not normal. There is no doubt in my mind that she was the recipient of a miracle. But from what I read, it sounded like a girl who wants to be loved and accepted and was willing to "turn off" her gay to be accepted by God. She never says that God healed her from being gay. Rather, she made an effort to make a fundamental behavioral change, but she is still who she was created - a lesbian in her heart. The question will be if she can endure this suffering for the remainder of her life. Grade B