So, if you follow me on Instagram you may be up to date on my latest book haul. If not, then I purchased a few books and this was one of them: Gay Girl. Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry. It was, to say the least, a pretty interesting read. Hill Perry is a Christian Hip-Hop artist as well as a poet and I had already been familiar with her before I decided to pick up her book but I had been wanting to read it and it was on the shelf at LifeWay just calling my name.
You may wonder why this is not being posted on a Friday and that is because I am not reviewing this as I would a novel. This is the real story of poet and artist Jackie Hill Perry and I wanted to portray it as such. Therefore, there will be no rating, as I can’t give a rating to anyone’s life. Other than that, everything else will be like my other reviews some of which you can read “here,” “here, ” and “here.”
Gay Girl, Good God is about the author’s life and how sin and a few bad examples led her to being confused about her own identity. In this memoir, she brings up both social and women’s issues. As a young adult Hill Perry struggled with her identity (and how many young adults don’t?) and this led to her feeling confused and shutting others out from her heart. The book deals with her identity, her relationship with her now husband, Preston Perry, and womanhood. To clarify, she focuses on what she thought womanhood was based on our stereotype-filled society and what womanhood actually means.
After the foreword, we read the book almost as though we are reading through Jackie Hill Perry’s life. We see her conception story and watch as she grows up. Each chapter is told like years, we see one or two major events that occurred in the author’s life and come to know her through said events. As we progress further in, the chapters get longer and the amount of detail increases.
She was very transparent about her life and said some things that I felt could really connect with most people living in today’s world, especially the younger generations. For instance, she states, “I became unbothered and unfeeling because how else could I keep safe. But, at the same time that I was teaching myself how to avoid pain, I was also training myself to live without love” (Hill Perry 34). Additionally, she makes it clear that she understands her book will offend some people but wants to tell everyone that she has to get her words out anyway. As many of you know, I am a strong advocate for sharing your own voice even if people don’t agree with what you ave to say. What I liked most about the book is that Jackie Hill Perry didn’t ask anyone to read it. I knew of it because I already knew about her, I volunteered at the Poets in Autumn tour where she and other spoken word artists act out amazing works of art. She didn’t try to make herself seem to be something more than what she was with this book and anyone who knows her work and has read this can attest to that.
I believe that there is a lot of substance in this book and a lot of value in it. One thing I appreciate is how accessible it is. Jackie Hill Perry uses quotes and talks Scripture but does so in a way that even those unfamiliar with the Bible or the Christian religion itself could understand. She also makes use of footnotes so that those interested and take a look at some of where her insights came from. Gay Girl, Good God was very relatable and I appreciated how she takes a stand against the idea of meekness equating to weakness.
Now, I may not have twenty years of editorial experience under my belt but there were things I noticed that made the little editor in me wince. I know, I know, not very logical things to focus on when dealing with such an intense topic but it is hard for me to stay as invested in a book, of any kind, when there are little things such as punctuation mishaps looking me dead in the face. That being said, I do not mean to say they take away from the poignancy of the words she writes or her story but they do give me pause and I find myself having to re-center and focus in.
“Pain being bigger than me can’t naturally fit inside my body or stay put for too long before it starts seeping out in various ways” (Hill Perry 131).
And that is all I will leave you with on this book. As I said, this isn’t a review, it is more of a reflection. If you want to find out more about the book you may have to take a trip to your nearest Christian bookstore.
Have you read Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry? If you have, let me know what you thought of it down below in the comments. Additionally, tell me what other books you would recommend I read. Be sure to follow this blog and follow me on Instagram @Chyina_Powell for more bookish content! And if you are already a member of my bookish little family, thanks! And if you are a poet or writer and have a book you’d like me to review, contact me “here” and I will be sure to get back to you!