I gave up on excellent spy novels years ago when my taste for LeCarre could not be satisfied with anyone else. So I decided to take a risk with Alex BI gave up on excellent spy novels years ago when my taste for LeCarre could not be satisfied with anyone else. So I decided to take a risk with Alex Berenson's "The Faithful Spy." If nothing else, this novel has restored my faith in the genre as relevant, as vital, and as a vehicle for truly good writing. I am convinced that Alex Berenson is every bit as good as the best of those who write fiction thrillers. I now have to check out other authors who write contemporary spy books; but not right away. I have 10 years of John Wells to catch up on. And I will....more
I have to give two reviews for this book. One is focused on the style, the editing, things like that. The other is strictly a review of the content.
II have to give two reviews for this book. One is focused on the style, the editing, things like that. The other is strictly a review of the content.
I read the book in one day with a long break before I finished it. I noticed plenty of strange sentence structures, spelling errors, and weird contextual placement of paragraphs or sentences which even a cursory editing should have found. Unfortunately the kinds of errors I found tend to give the book an amateurish flavor, which doesn't serve the content well. I was surprised and I think that there should definitely be an editing before the next edition is published.
As far as the content, which is Tim's story, it's not exactly an autobiography in great detail, but as the title says, a very specific focus on a very specific journey. I'm sure it has been cathartic for Tim to put into writing a very difficult and painful, confusing, but ultimately completely honest experience of coming to terms with his homosexuality as a fundamentalist, conservative Christian. He evaluates the ex-gay movement in which he was immersed for several years. His insights as to its failings are credible, and he manages to expose the ministry with which he was deeply involved with no bitterness, but rather with a lot of maturity and graciousness.
The picture he paints of his married life is certainly depressing, and I wonder how common among others who profess to being ex-gay and in heterosexual marriages.
Eventually Tim reveals how he has come to not exactly re-define his faith or his Christianity, but instead he purposely doesn't define his faith, nor his perspective on Christianity. I had the feeling that this part of his story is definitely not settled, but as frequently happens to true believers, honest seekers , the construct completely breaks down at some point and what is True will ultimately emerge. That takes a lifetime, and Tim,like it or not, seems to be on that path.
As far as accepting his homosexuality, I was a little confused. I would say that Tim knew he was gay. Tim tried to change. Tim told himself he had changed and so got married and started a family. Tim realized again, that he was gay, and the family broke apart.Tim came out finally to his family and eventually to the world as gay. Tim found a partner and things have attained a level of peace for him. It's not that Tim hasn't "found himself", but that the self he finds is in constant flux. And that's very much the way life is.
I think, however, that the story is far from over. We may never know the genesis of homosexuality, and the way people live out their personal homosexuality is as unique,diverse and undefined as it can possibly be. Tim's journey is just that, his personal journey. I appreciate that he has taken the time and great effort to share that with the world. I found it to be very intense with a deep undercurrent of melancholia or despair which robbed me of sleep the night after the day I read the book. I'm glad Tim has made it thus far and I have great respect for his honesty and for his transparency and vulnerability. It will be interesting to see how his journey continues.
****Several days later...*****
I wanted to add a bit more as I have been thinking about this book, Tim's status in life and so many Christians/ex-Christians ex-ex-gays , and so forth. There seems to come a point where those who acknowledge their Christianity AND their homosexual desires face a critical point of making a choice about how to deal with the inescapable tension. Frequently, these days especially, many Christians who accept their homosexuality, then progress to redefining God, or re-creating a "relationship" with (a)God who accepts homosexuality and homosexual relationships, primarily within a " gay marriage". That strikes me as a way of compromising with God on personal terms and not on God's terms. "Please let me have my homosexual gratification this way.... within a 'gay marriage' ". If this is legitimate, I think that it would have been apparent throughout the history of the Christian Church. And I've found no convincing evidence that it is legitimate. And of course the only other alternative is to jettison the faith altogether, or to bear the homosexual condition in celibacy. It's quite a conundrum for all who accept their homosexual component! That's the value of Tim sharing his story so honestly... we get to see one man's attempt at relieving the tension and resolving the issue. I am not necessarily agreeing with his conclusions, in fact I am more favorable to Wesley Hill and his story in "Washed and Waiting" which I see as promoting lifelong celibacy for a Christian who is constitutionally homosexual....more