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Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope
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Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Since the publication of 'A child called "it"' by Dave Pelzer there hasn't been a story like this. But this is not just another harrowing story about an excruciating childhood and the ravages on a life it produces. The difference is that Mez not only escaped from his 'trial by parent' but he discovered a hope that has transformed his life. He in turn has helped others find ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published November 21st 2006 by Christian Focus Publications (first published January 1st 2001)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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Mark Jr.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed watching God's amazing grace change this very British, very drug-addicted burglar and all-around street tough. I listened to him give his testimony in an interview with Mark Dever some time ago. The book offered even more edifying and instructive detail.

Of course, it is also hilarious to watch someone from a totally different culture encounter conservative Christian culture for the first time.

Here's a vignette:
I can’t believe that I’m going to church. But as there’s a big
Terri Orr
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A page turner. Sometimes hard to follow as he wrote in present tense from memory, but that also made it more authentic. Such an important book...everything in it! Thank you for writing it!
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
How do you get from a childhood like Mez McConnell full of extreme physical and emotional abuse and then as a rebel teenager abusing drugs and crime to be able to say and live.. All for Christ and because of Him. I have to say that reading and how he wrote it was very disconnect. It was not written in a emotional voice but pretty much black and white. However, after his conversion, the tone changed and was one of hope. I love this quote..."They just want to talk about their feelings all the ...more
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can a man who was severely abused as a child, suffered from drug addiction and served a year in a maximum security prison become converted to Christianity and serve in pulpit ministry? On a theoretical basis, the church would say "Yes!" In the case of Mez McConnell, the answer is "Yes" on a reality basis as well.

Wow! This book is quite a remarkable story of a boy abandoned by his parents and growing up in the most difficult circumstances. Mr. McConnell ought to be dead or a lifer in prison, but
Dawn Nordquist
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm kicking myself for letting this book sit on my bookshelf for over a year. Someone at a 20 schemes booth gave me this book when I was at a conference and I decided to read it after a gal at my church talked about her prison ministry.
I can't speak to those from hard backgrounds but I would assume this book would bring you hope and be a great help in explaining the gospel. But I do think every "good" Christian that goes to church every Sunday and thinks you're doing mostly the "right things"
Brian Watson
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a short, easy-to-read memoir of a Scottish thief and drug user (and peddler) who became a Christian and a pastor. Much of the book is told in a stream-of-consciousness, present-tense style meant to recapture the author's thoughts as the events of his life unfolded. Annoyingly, this is all presented in italics. This style makes the book move quickly and I suspect it's what many find captivating. The book itself I think is overhyped. But the story is encouraging. God saved someone ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've heard it said that God takes your misery and makes it your ministry. It would seem to be true in the life of this Author. An abused and abandoned child grew into an angry teen that quickly found himself trapped by addiction and in trouble with the law. He encounters the forgiveness of God in the gospel and the life transforming power of Jesus Christ. He soon finds a passion in his heart to share this gift with those who are living as he once lived.
The author is transparent about his pain,
Meg Miller
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bold and challenging

Don't read Mez's story if you belong to a safe church that doesn't challenge you.Do reading of you want honesty about a young man whose Jesus turned his life right around.....and whose rants are a challenge to unbold churches. As Christ renews you do be prepared to tell of Him as you serve others. Straight talking and challenging
Sandy McFadyean
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A good short read and a very personal story of seeking God from the very roughest of starts.

Mez's view of modern day middle class Christianity is refreshing to say the least. His experiences entertained, challenged and changed my thinking in different measure.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a refreshingly honest testimony book on Mez's conversion. Men's initial encounters with Christians and the Christian subculture are hilarious even though the tone of the book is serious and sad in the first chapters. Such an interesting juxtaposition.
Jane Ellen
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed Mez's story of conversion. Though not graphic, he paints a clear picture of street life. This is a wonderful way for believers to "get inside" the mind of an unbeliever or new believer.
A Gill
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A compelling book about the power Jesus Christ has to transform lives - specifically the life of a young lad from Yorkshire who was abused as a child and fell into crime and drugs in his teenage years.
David King
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
A very difficult read. This is no tragic-childhood-that-ends-all-happy-happy. Even though the gospel transforms, there are still lingering scars and healing. A difficult but necessary read.
Rachel Scott
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book which highlights that God does not have unreachable people. Very challenging.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thankful for Mez's testimony shared through this book.
Myron Stoltzfus

Nice Nice very very nice good story was very fun to read the story nice nice very nice nice nice
Brandi Breezee
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rated it 4 star, but I really can’t say that’s accurate. It’s more like somewhere between 3-4 stars. Still gathering my thoughts on it.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s no secret that the UK conservative evangelical church is largely middle-class and often very cosseted from serious deprivation and the issues that face families on tough council estates. Mez McConnell’s book is a powerful testimony to God’s power to save a childhood victim of neglect and violence from a destructive life. His prose is heavy with raw dialogue and honesty about how God saved him through the witness of faithful Christians and how joining a UK middle class church was a real ...more
Chris Wray
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This is an absolutely gripping story of sin and redemption, written throughout with a frank honesty that is refreshing and very engaging. The chapters about his childhood and early adult life are grim and heart breaking, and the pervading sense is of feeling alone and purposeless. Those chapters are all tinged with sadness and loss, yet are entirely devoid of self-pity. He even writes at times with a wry humour, and clearly doesn't take himself too seriously.

One striking aspect of the book is
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-stories
Is There Anybody Out There? is the uplifting and poignant tale of a street-tough, drug-addicted thief who found Jesus. Or should I say, Jesus found him.

Mez's childhood was tough. Real tough. Terribly abusive. Unstable. Unforgiving. It shaped him and turned him into a hoodlum who only had prison or drug-fueled death to look forward to. Could anything break through? A group of young Christians did, and only by persistent love, care, and attentiveness.

I admit, though I had been looking forward to
Michael Reynolds
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Grace. It wins again.

The bulk of this very quick read is made up of flashes of memory of events and conversations from McConnell's traumatic childhood through conversion and college and then into the beginnings of his career. I found myself taken fully into a moment only to suddenly fly off to the next. It wasn't frustrating; I felt like I was there, sympathizing, always hoping. Perhaps the brevity helped McConnell more easily share his story because his youth was certainly tragic, and (I
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was difficult to read - not because it was poorly written, but because of the account of the author's childhood and youth. In fact, it is a very compelling story, but one I had to put down repeatedly in order to deal with the vicarious emotional pain. From his abusive childhood to delinquent youth, the author tells his story honestly, without self-pity but without making excuses for those around him. The story of how he was first brought the gospel will bring you to tears. This story ...more
Jeff Short
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is an autobiographical account of the author's conversion. It's messy but not salacious. He presents and authentic view of sin but does not glory in it. The author comes from and works in one of the most neglected segments of population today. He is honest about his struggles and presents an authentic view of coming to faith that isn't a snap of the fingers and immediate whisking away of all problems.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to write and publish such a book, but I'm glad he
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I follow the" 20 Schemes" blog - of church planting amongst the Scottish council estates (schemes) and was interested to read this testimony of the pastor of Niddrie Church. I found it easy to read, with the first 13 chapters written in an interesting conversational style. Fascinating to hear of someone whose life was so different to mine, with such a hard childhood, and how the Lord dealt with him, saving him and calling him to a useful work for the Kingdom of God. It is an encouraging book ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. He writes in a stream of consciousness style that seems to make his story more poignant, and his observations of Christian culture once he was converted struck a cord with me. He is a sinner saved by grace who has not forgotten what he has been saved from and so his sincerity and most of all, his love for the Gospel, is made clear.
Easy, quick read that will keep me thinking for days.
Davina Sinclair
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A story of how Jesus and only Jesus can transform a hopeless, hate filled life into a life of hope through his grace. A particularly challenging part was when he said the best sermon he heard was when Christians came to visit him in prison and asked "how are you Mez?" People don't need only to hear the gospel but they need to be shown.
Amy Young
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Though I feel like a BIG JERK giving 2 to 2.5 stars to a book written by a man who had a horrific childhood, I did not enjoy the book. His writing style was all over the place and the final four chapters seemed to be written by someone else all together. That being said, I am grateful that Mez has tasted and enjoyed redemption and is married, a father, and employed!
Bill Ketchem
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last night as I was among a group who were speaking of God's grace through Christ to youth in a detention center, I couldn't help but think that this was similar to their stories. For many thousands of youth, only Christ can redeem their lives.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Hard to read about the abuse he suffered as a child. But his conversion is exciting and hilarious as he describes what church looks like (weird and fake) to someone completely unfamiliar with church culture and christian speak
Will Dole
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was gut-wrenching, painful, and absolutely fabulous. The story of God's grace to place hope into the most difficult of circumstances shines through in Mez's story. His reflections on and criticisms of church-as-it-is-today were also helpful, if hitting painfully close to home.
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