cover image Tammy: Telling It My Way

Tammy: Telling It My Way

Tammy Faye Messner. Villard Books, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-44515-9

Here one half of the dynamic duo of the former PTL Club, Jim and Tammy Bakker, tells her story of the rise and fall of the Bakker televangelistic empire and the corresponding demise of the Bakker marriage. Messner narrates the saga of her rise from poor country girl in rural Minnesota to the glittering, fast-paced world of contemporary Christian television with surprising honesty and self-effacement. She leaves no stone unturned in her story of the early days of her relationship with a handsome young Bible college student named Jim Bakker. It was at Bible college that she discovered that using makeup, especially the false eyelashes that became her trademark, did not result in her being punished by God for a grave sin. The portrait of Jim Bakker that emerges from this account is one of a manic-depressive workaholic whose frequent absences and lack of attention to Tammy led to her own Platonic affair with Christian singer Gary Paxton. Messner reveals her own side of the salacious scandals that eventually resulted in the demise of the PTL empire, including Jim Bakker's ""affair"" with Jessica Hahn and Jerry Falwell's attempts to take over the evangelistic empire. Messner takes off her makeup for a brief moment in this book to show the world a sometimes insecure woman who has overcome recent bouts with cancer and retains a steadfast and enduring faith in God. Fans of PTL will want to read this book alongside Jim Bakker's I Was Wrong (Nelson, Oct.) for a fascinating glimpse into the souls of two people whose excesses in the name of religion have become legendary. (Nov.)