I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé

Michael Arceneaux. Atria, $17 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7885-6
“The world is still a harsh place for those who don’t fit in with the status quo,” writes journalist Arceneaux in this witty and powerful collection of personal essays. Over the course of 17 pieces, Arceneaux explores his experiences as a black, gay man and Catholic Southerner—identities frequently at odds with each other. Arceneaux recalls praying to Jesus to “cure” him of his homosexuality as a teenager in Houston, and later being “recruited” for priesthood as a college student at Howard University, noting at that period in his life he saw his future self as “something more along the lines of ‘Katie Couric with a dick.’ ” He later writes about his postcollege stints living in Los Angeles and New York while trying to make it as a writer (“here are the topics mainstream outlets love for me to write about from the perspective of a gay Black man: Black homophobia, AIDS, sexual racism”). His dating escapades, meanwhile, are frequently hilarious and sometimes disastrous: one man was judged unacceptable not because he had beaten up an ex-boyfriend, but because he worked for Fox News, while another brought a flea infestation into Arceneaux’s apartment. Arceneaux has a biting sense of humor, referring to the persistence of Catholic guilt, for example, as “the herpes of your conscience,” and a nasty roommate as “land’s answer to Ursula the Sea Witch.” Arceneaux’s confident voice and unapologetic sense of humor will appeal to fans of Roxane Gay. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 07/24/2018
Book - 978-1-5011-7886-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-6771-3
Downloadable Audio - 256 pages - 978-1-5082-6770-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-6772-0
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