Preston Yancey has lived a beautiful story. He has taken his twenty-five years and tied them together in a narrative that seems utterly familiar. The characters, his college haunts, and the churches that shape him all seem like they could be places I have been to and experienced a thousand times over.
As with any books that can be described as “Christian memoir,” some fans will try to make Preston’s story represent a generational movement. Others, the critics, will dismiss it as a youthful, angst-filled reflection of an entire generation. I’ve pondered those options for a few moments but honestly, neither of those ring true to his text.
Instead, I think Preston’s words reflect a powerful and important personal journey. A journey that includes churches and liturgies, yes, but a journey centered on hearing and discernment. Hearing God. Hearing others. Hearing the words and stories that have changed lives and generations. In my experience, the most profound moments in this book are those pages where he encounters the brokenness of not hearing.
I do not know Preston well so this is a guess, but I think he would say that his book is not a “must read,” not like Flannery and Dante are must reads. And there are those who probably shouldn’t read Preston’s book, specifically those people who want it to be a battle cry of a generation or something.
Treat this book as a profound person. The person whose life captivates your imagination in such a way that you constantly want to know the fullness behind it. That is what Preston has given us here. The words dance off the pages, the people come to life as he describes how they have impacted him. This is one o the few works of non-fiction that has brought me to tears and it has a book that has given me a renewed sense of openness to hearing God and the lives of those around me.