There is something strangely fascinating about reading other people’s stories who have similar backgrounds to you. Perhaps it’s reading of experiences you can relate to. Perhaps it’s chuckling at the idiosyncrasies of people who sound JUST LIKE somebody you once knew. Or perhaps it’s simply knowing that someone else besides you actually DID experience the same things you did and they turned out okay, too.
In Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music and the Holy Ghost, Matthew Paul Turner tells of his childhood and religious upbringing that sounds eerily similar to mine. Not everything was the same, of course, but enough for me to make connections with my background. Even my alma mater gets a not-so-subtle mention. I found myself laughing at his accounts of people’s reactions to “worldly” music. I especially laughed at his retelling of the time he & his sister encountered a Michael Jackson song:
“The beat was syncopated, and for a young Independent Fundamental Baptist, few things existed that were more frightful than a syncopated beat. And for good reason too. Whenever my church deemed a beat ‘syncopated,’ it meant it was the kind of beat to which Baptist missionaries had witnessed evil spirits conjured among naked African tribes. That was why we covered our ears—just in case some of them tried to shimmy their way inside our heads. Demons were scary enough, but nude demons gyrating their hips inside our brains—that would require a prescription. And Baptists who required antidepressants often turned into atheists or, sometimes, Methodists. ” (p.58)
Turner is very good at telling stories. They are readable and captivating. He tells of his earliest forays into the musical world, his discovery of Amy Grant, his desire (“Holy Ghost” driven) to be the Christian Michael Jackson, his experiences in college and with the music industry.
When I finished the book, however, I found myself wondering what the point of the book was. As a friend of mine noted, sometimes it is enough to know others have come through similar experiences. That is true. Perhaps it is my own fault, but my expectations of the book were to find out how Turner came out of the IFB mentality, especially in regards to music. He doesn’t go into the why and how or his exodus, just the fact that he did. Nor are we even told what his beliefs are concerning music. But again, maybe this isn’t the point of the book.
Hear No Evil is a fun book to read, as long as you aren’t expecting much resolution of any kind. If nothing else, maybe others of a similar background can find comfort and laugh a little (or a lot) at shared memories. Recommended: Yes
(This book was provided for review by the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.)
Next Friday, March 5 2010, I’ll be giving away a copy of Turner’s book, Hear No Evil. The deadline for entering the drawing is Thursday night by midnight, March 4, 2010. To be entered in the drawing to win Hear No Evil, you can do one or more of the following. For each method you use, you’ll receive one entry into the drawing (3 entries possible).
- Post a comment below.
- Link to this post from your blog.
- On Twitter, RT “@Eskypades: Book Giveaway! Enter to win Matthew Paul Turner’s “Hear No Evil” at http://wp.me/pzfPF-bC”
I’ll randomly select the winner sometime Friday afternoon, March 5, 2010. (Giveaway is open to US residents only.)