Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Out of a Far Country -review

Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope by Christopher and Angela Yuan

Christopher Yuan was a Chinese-American born to Chinese immigrants that discovered at an early age that he was attracted to boys. In his early adult years, on a visit home from college, Christopher finally admitted to his parents he was gay, and his mother, Angela, gave him an ultimatum: choose homosexuality or choose his family. Christopher chose homosexuality. And so started a journey for the Yuans as they struggle through years of trial after trial. Angela Yuan struggles with her new-found faith in Christ while praying for her son, and Christopher falls into a life of that of a party boy.

This coauthored memoir tracks Christopher’s and Angela’s story of a prodigal son life, and was a captivating read. While it is a story about a homosexual son and his mother, it felt as if it could relate to any person, regardless of their sexual orientation. People of all sorts struggle with falling into “prodigal son” lifestyles at times, and to read the story of the Yuans was to catch a glimpse into the patient love of God. Of course, I’m a sucker for a well-written memoir that reads like a story. I was worried when I got this book that it might turn out to be horrible and unGodly, but it was not.

On a technical level, the way Christopher and Angela wove their separate memoirs into one was masterfully done. The book works by the son and mother writing alternating chapters, and they all work together. It was interesting to see the different ways the two reacted to the same situations throughout the journey of their lives. If Angela is talking of how she went to visit her son for one reason, Christopher would follow up flawlessly in the next chapter with how a visit from his mother irritated him. They wrote as if it was not a coauthored book, simply explaining their individual thoughts and evolution through time. Yet it worked.

*I acquired this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers*