Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows

Jay Bakker, Author, Linden Gross, With
Jay Bakker, Author, Linden Gross, With HarperOne $23 (218p) ISBN 978-0-06-251698-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
From the opening epigram (a passage from Romans about learning from trials and adversities) to the rousing concluding chapter, this memoir by the son of the scandal-ridden televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker inspires, captivates and entertains. Even before his dad was arrested, Jay confesses, family life began to fall apart: Mom was addicted to drugs, and Jay's 16-year-old sister ran off to marry her beau. And then, in a haze of scandal, his father, whom Jay lionizes, was sentenced in 1989 to 45 years in prison. Jay's portrait of Papa Bakker is extremely sympathetic--at times, a tad too worshipful. He also includes a touching vignette about Jimmy Swaggart, who agreed to help Jay get his father's prison sentence reduced when no other big-name pastors dared to intervene. In the years since his father was released from prison, young Jay Bakker has discovered he's an alcoholic, and gotten sober; fallen in love, and gotten married; and realized he's a sinner, and gotten right with God. He's now a pastor--a tattooed, hip pastor--in Atlanta, ministering to street youth on skateboards. Readers are sure to love Bakker's delightfully down-to-earth, slightly self-mocking tone (""For a while I thought I was Jim Morrison,"" he says about his acid-tripping, cowboy-boot-sporting days in high school), and will hope he'll somehow carve out time to write more books. (Feb.)
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