1. What is the book about?
Gay Girl, Good God is a story of a woman whose life has been saved, transformed and kept by her Saviour. Written by first-time author Jackie Hill Perry, this memoir recounts her life story in a way that points us to the character of God and the person and work of his Son Jesus Christ.
Perry begins her story by sharing with us her experience of the harsh realities of life from a young age. She traces through her struggles of having an absent father, being the victim of sexual abuse, experiencing gender confusion and eventually embracing homosexuality. Then, one day, God broke in and turned her heart toward him in light of the gospel of His Son. The next section of the book focuses on Perry’s growing knowledge of God and her increasing awareness of the conflicting desires of the flesh and of the Spirit who has been put in her. The book finishes with a collection of biblical and practical resources written to encourage those struggling in the area of same sex attraction, as well as to equip Christians to love their same sex attracted neighbours.
2. What did I learn?
One thing I learnt in this story is what it looks like to hold together a robust doctrine of sin and a deep confidence that Jesus is the only one who can truly save, transform, and sustain. Throughout the book, Perry does not hold back in identifying her misconceptions of sin and her doubts of God’s grace. But every time, she demonstrates how going to the Scriptures gives her comfort and freedom in the beauty and the truth of the gospel. Without spoiling the book too much, I hope to draw your attention to a few questions Perry wrestled with that stood out to me.
- If God really saved me, why doesn’t he take away my desire to sin? Or in Perry’s words, wouldn’t it be “easier if when God cleansed me of my sin, He also took the taste for it out of my mouth?”
- What God calls idols has been a kind of joy for me. Would I really find better joy in Him?
- “Is this what it feels like to be a Christian? …To have a quiet war inside of yourself at all times?”
If these are questions you have wrestled with as well, I would recommend this book as one way to find out more.
3. What did I enjoy?
I enjoyed the fact that, unlike many other memoirs, this book is very rich in its theology and bold in its proclamation of God’s word, even when it speaks of a controversial topic such at homosexuality. Perry makes clear that while same sex attraction is not a sin itself, acting on those desires is. She also helpfully points out that “God isn’t calling gay people to be straight”. This is the gospel presentation that Perry delivered:
“Our sexuality is not our soul, marriage is not heaven, and singleness is not hell. So may we all preach the news that is good for a reason. For it proclaims to the world that Jesus has come so that all sinners, same-sex attracted and opposite-sex attracted, can be forgiven of their sins to love God and enjoy him forever”Jackie Hill Perry (Gay Girl, Good God – pg.190)
Another thing I enjoyed about this book is the powerful imagery and poetic language that lifts the words off the page. The way Perry brings her story to life has made this book incredibly difficult to put down!
4. Why should other people read it?
There are two reasons why I think anyone would find Gay Girl, Good God to be a valuable read:
Firstly, this book is an invitation to engage in the topic of same sex attraction, something that may still feel like a taboo in a variety of contexts. However, the chances are many of us either have family or friends who are same sex attracted or have wondered if we ourselves are. I believe this book is one of many that would equip us to engage with this topic more holistically.
Secondly, though the book has a particular focus on the topic of homosexuality, it is about so much more. It explored many other topics such as identity, pride, biblical womanhood, singleness and marriage. But more than that, this story is primarily about God coming to save sinners. Whether or not you are a Christian, this book is an invitation to embark on the journey of author Jackie Hill Perry, so that by God’s grace, you may taste and see that God is good.