Why, you might ask, am I up past midnight writing my review of book 36 of 52? One, I got caught up in the book. Two, at about 11pm, my neighbors (who have been referenced on this blog before) decided to kick up the techno base-thumping and do very un-Christian like things considering they are not married.
These two reasons are related. Trish Ryan’s He Loves Me, He Loves Me Notis about her struggle to find the right “one,” and as the cover suggests, she had a kiss a lot of frogs along the way.
But this isn’t just any sort of “hey, here’s what I did wrong until the right guy came along” memoir. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Notis about how Ryan’s changed her dating habits — and her life — after finding Jesus.
Before I go any further, know this: If you’re a regular reader of this blog and its comments, you know that Ryan is a regular reader and commenter (hi Trish!). I read her blog a few times a week, and it’s hysterical. We’ve emailed extensively. We’ve even had a nice conversation over Google Chat. But somehow, among all of this, I missed the fact that Ryan is a Christian and that her book, which doesn’t come out until April, is about just that. I even skipped over the “A Memoir of Finding Faith, Hope and Happily Ever After” part of the title without processing whole faith part, though, to be fair, I don’t know if that’s more because of my inability to notice detail, or our society’s broad use of the term faith.
In either case, I didn’t know I’d be wading into Baptismal waters when I picked up this book.
That, I’m happy to report, didn’t turn out to be a problem. When I got deeper into the memoir and realized this Jesus thing was coming down the pike, I worried. I wasn’t sure if the story would continue along a Bible beating path, or something more manageable, something more applicable, something that would be appreciated by a Democrat.
The book is the later, my friends in Barack and/or Hillary. Even though there are heavy doses of “how Jesus helped me,” I never felt like Jesus was being shoved down my throat. I kept reading (thumping techno base aside) because I enjoyed the story. I wanted to see how Ryan managed to bounce back from being washed in new-agey, life-coach-y, feng shui-y gunk. I wanted to see how she ever recovered from a horrible first marriage. And I do wonder what she’d think about Cosmic Love: Secrets of the Astrology of Intimacy Revealed, which was sent to me to consider for an article I was writing about dating (no worries, Trish — I never planned on using it).
Ryan writes more about the kind of Christianity that I learned from my dear friend’s family while in college. In fact, I just wrote to someone today about how this family is the nicest group of people I’ve ever met. Last December, when I’d had my heart drop kicked like a soccer ball, I flew to Tampa to be with my friend and her family. Her mother knew I was hurting and provided all the healing she could in the short time I was there. A few years before, again at another time I was really hurting, I went to visit that friend and that family, a woman from the Bible studies class who I had never met before just folded me into her arms and let me cry. There was no Bible beating. Just love and prayers for who I was.
So I recognized what Ryan was writing about as she turned the corner to Jesus. And even though I’m not yet ready to run down to church (though I have been thinking about trying to get back to my Catholic roots), I appreciated what she had to say, and how she writes frankly about how she changed, and how difficult it was.
A lot of people are not going to like this book. They’ll write it off as evangelism. They’ll throw Ryan into the pile with Jerry Falwell and people who protest gay funerals just because she says she’s Christian, and they’ll ignore all the good stuff because she says who she is (and says how she really feels about Falwell, by the by, and she’s not a fan).
But I think denouncing the book because of this would be a mistake. It’s a good memoir, and one I recommend reading because it’s well written, it’s funny, and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s not that she’s a Christian trying to be a writer. She’s a writer who just happens to be Christian. It might not be about a religion I follow, but, as you’ve probably guessed while reading this blog, I read about a lot of things that might not apply to me. This book was a whole heck of a lot more entertaining than the threesoom book I reviewed for this blog, I can tell you that.
I think the music on the other side of the wall is still going. At 11, I tried ringing the doorbell to get their attention. At midnight, I thwacked the wall with Ryan’s book. Maybe another rap or two will help.