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There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,643 ratings  ·  263 reviews
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2018 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Somehow Casey Gerald has pulled off the most urgently political, most deeply personal, and most engagingly spiritual statement of our time by just looking outside his window and inside himself. Extraordinary." —Marlon James

"Staccato prose and peripatetic storytelling combine the cadences of the Bible with an urgency
...more
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Riverhead Books
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Canadian
Casey Gerald may have an interesting and worthwhile story to tell, but I was unable to stick around for another 300 or so more pages to find out. I couldn’t stand what to me was an affected, ostentatious, fake-and-folksy, down-home-jokey narrative voice. Unfairly or not, it made me mistrust him and any observations he might make. I stuck my toe in the water, and the writing so turned me off that I could wade in no farther. I can only report that no, there were no miracles here with respect to ...more
Tina Panik
Unlike any book, or any memoir, I have ever read. Casey’s honesty is equal parts shame and pride, brains and ignorance, hope and despair. His story is still unfolding, and I’ll be first in line for a follow up volume...

This was an ARC from Book Expo NYC, where I saw Casey speak at a dinner that left everyone in tears.
Mehrsa
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of memoirs. I love memoirs. This is one of the best I've ever read. It's so beautifully written, so honest, and so timely. The perfect trifecta of a memoir.
Raymond
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first became aware of this book after reading "The Personal Cost of Black Success" in the November 2018 issue of The Atlantic magazine. The article reviewed Gerald's memoir and Kiese Laymon's Heavy: An American Memoir, which I finished earlier this year. I instantly connected with Gerald's book from the beginning when he writes about his 1999 New Year's Eve experience at his family's church when he waited for the world to end. I remember that evening well and Gerald's writing brought those ...more
Rebecca
The title comes from a seventeenth-century sign in a French village that was intended to get the God-dazzled peasants back to work. For Gerald it’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reminder that his life, even if he has made good after an unpromising beginning, is not some American dream or fairytale. It’s more complicated than that. Still, there’s no sugar-coating his family issues. His father missed his tenth birthday party because he was next door with dope fiends; his bipolar mother was in the ...more
Hayley Stenger
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. I always felt like Casey Gerald was walking a tightrope in life and on the verge of falling. He lived in a world that was chaotic and he was balancing emotional trauma with educational and athletic success. The writing was aggressive and a little chaotic, it fit the story well. Gerald was reflective and honest. The only issue I had was the writing wasn't as tight as I would have liked. I look forward to hearing more of what Gerald has to say, I think he has some ...more
Bryna Zumer
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This was sort of interesting, but I didn't finish it... Casey Gerald is obviously a good, unique writer with his own voice, and he has some interesting stories to tell. Ultimately, though, I wasn't totally sure why I should read a memoir by such a young author who basically just started a business-school co-op and has written for a lot of high-brow media - and, since he's basically from my generation, I felt like some of it was a little pretentious/posturing. I guess I just wasn't interested ...more
Brady Jones
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is not a story, and it’s not a lecture: It’s a lesson.

Gerald’s autobiography sheds light into the diametrically opposed natures of our society through lenses of race, class, gender/sexuality, generations, religion, and regionalism. It is, at its core, an indictment of power in all its forms.

It does not follow a traditional arc, ending with a neat bow. Instead it ends with a beginning and more questions than answers - and that makes it great. It is several conversations happening at once,
...more
Leigh
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I came into this knowing nothing of Casey Gerald. Listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s interesting to read the varying reviews of his literary voice, which I absolutely loved. Humble (in a self-deprecating way), honest, and refreshingly humorous. While one might consider some of the subject matter “timely” in our current sociopolitical climate, I believe he is just telling his story... and he just happens to be a black, gay man coming of age and meeting success in his ...more
Lily
Oct 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library, memoir
I tried to force myself through this book and succeeded through it for awhile. It might have a message somewhere in there about who Casey is/was and what he has learned. Obviously, he had an unsettled childhood from what I did read. I do not want to wade through the rest of the book to find out the moral of the story (if there is one) because of the coarseness of the narrative and language. It was interesting to hear the lingo of his world.
Teresa
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was asked to read this ARC/memoir for an honest review. It is already receiving notable buzz from many reliable, reputable sources - Lissa Muscatine (One of the owners of Politics & Prose) and Colm Toibin (Author) to name two. And, the true life story of Casey Gerald's rise from "rags to riches" is truly astonishing in the way only true stories can be.

The book begins at a religious revival with 12 year old Casey discovering doubt for the first time in his life. He grew up in Texas with a
...more
Misha
This is an interesting memoir, to be sure, and Gerald's voice can be so clear and rallying in one section and muddied and herky jerky in others. (He also mentions his own name waaaay too much throughout the book.) In a year in which Educated came out, I realize how much narrative style and authorial voice effect the reading of a memoir, and this was a bit uneven overall for me. Gerald's coming-of-age in a destructive family of origin, his realization of self as a queer black man (he rejects the ...more
Amy
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I selected There Will Be No Miracles Here for our book club discussion because so many publications put it on their recommended reading lists.

This memoir opens on New Year's Eve, 1999, when so many believed it was the end of the world. His grandfather is an evangelical minister who has gathered his flock together for their last day on earth and as the clock strikes midnight, they all go to heaven.

Or not.

This immediately sets the tone for the kind of realistic humor that peppers Casey's life.
...more
et2 Brutuss
Just How?

While I liked it and found there were many profound and moving passages, I find it a little bit disingenuous. It seems that he sort of just falls into these positively life changing situations. He sort of just ends up at Yale, Yale! He sort of just ends up a Rhodes Scholar candidate. These are circumstances that people carefully craft their entire childhoods and young adulthood to be able to access and still fail. Yet Casey seems to sort of meander into them, unwillingly even. You need
...more
Angie Reisetter
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gerald's life has been extraordinary in many ways, from his often absent parents during childhood to his days playing football for Yale to his work in a think tank in DC. This memoir comes across as an exercise in radical honesty, a reworking and fact checking of the stories he's told himself and others over the years. It's also beautifully written in a voice that is somehow both achingly earnest and deeply skeptical. He tells us how he felt during an episode in his life and then examines ...more
Sonora Taylor
3.5/5
This book had a great start and an uneven finish. I got the sense while reading that Gerald's public speaking skills dictated the way he wrote. Sometimes this worked really well, and sometimes this didn't work, especially in the last third of the book. I started to feel lost and disjointed. Perhaps that was intentional on the author's part, and if so, then maybe that's a style that isn't for me.

Still, it was a good read overall, and a great read for the first half of the book.
Caroline (readtotheend on IG)
This book was just not for me. There were really amazing passages. I really connected to passages where he talks about his Yale football experiences and the relationships and lessons he learned there. I also felt really connected to the passages where he talks about his identity as a gay man - it felt very honest and sincere. But ultimately, I felt his writing to be very uneven and I personally do not love stream-of-consciousness type writing. To be honest, what I felt was lacking was a sense of ...more
Sarah
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to give this book 5 stars because I spent so much time thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. And telling my husband. And looking up articles about him. And watching his Ted Talk. I almost want to equate it to On The Road because it is written in this dreamy out of body type way. He writes about himself with confusion and uncertainty, as if each step in his life is a surprise. Yet this belies how incredibly smart and ambitious he was (is), succeeding with each new phase. I think what ...more
Rebecca
Dec 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoirs
I just couldn't get into this one.
Charles Baker
This was a hard book for me. I'm 20 years or so older than Casey Gerald. I'm from the South, Mississippi rather than Texas. My family was a kinda' messed up, but I think not so profoundly as Casey's and in some different ways. I'm cis-het, he's gay. I went to Yale some 20 years before Casey. He made it through, I did not. My life now is good, beautiful wife, great kids nearly all grown. I glimpsed the world Casey became a part of. My dad, whom I didn't spend much time with as my parents were ...more
Dr. Van
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every page of this book had me sucking in my breath. Gerald is a beautifully complex writer. This work feels unfinished and raw at points, and poetic and perfect at others. For me, it worked. I felt incredibly close to the author and his life in a way that it is not always so easy to achieve in a book. In some ways, this felt more like the intimacy of a podcast in which an authors' feelings literally vibrate through your body as they come in contact with your ears. Gerald draws no broad general ...more
Peter Colclasure
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Casey Gerald might become the next literary big deal if he can learn to write a sentence with less than three dependent clauses. He has an original voice and important things to say, but he's also coy, evasive, and turgid. Consequently, this book is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant—a blast to the face of equal parts brilliance and self-indulgence.

So how do I rate it?

On the one hand: Gerald is witty and clever, but not for the mere sake of being witty and clever. There’s a moral rage
...more
Sarah Macdonald
I don't read a lot of memoirs, but I would if they were like this. I think I highlighted a third of the book. By far one of the best books I've read in a long time. As much interesting as it is poignant, I can't believe Gerald can write a book about his life and not have it be either a sob story or a cliche. He writes with breathtaking honesty, humility, and grace, all the more remarkable for how he's built his life.
Sarah
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not black, but this book is zoomed into many of the issues I've been pondering. If you want to know how a thoughtful Democrat works for an Obama think tank and, as a result, considers becoming a Republican, read this book.

Anyway, I know I'm old now because the author reminisces about his childhood by mentioning things from my childhood.
Germaine Irwin
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this is a fabulous book, a life so far lead with no shortage of problems, naïveté, desire, strength, foolishness, and enlightenment- just like many of us and also very different from many of us. He shows us his path without judgements (except for himself) and thus shows us a way to relate experiences while also opening our eyes to other truths.
Cherise Wolas
An interesting memoir. A coming of age tale, of a young queer black boy. Rags to riches. From the other side of the river in Dallas in 1999, in a family of preachers, with a father who was a star football player, and then became a drug addict, a bipolar mother who disappears, a boy who finds himself at Yale, etc. There is fury and poetry in some of the prose that makes it shimmer.
Maria Elena
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I cannot get into this. It is too poetic and all over the place.
Noelani
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"You arrive, by force, as a baby and become a little boy or girl and without much thought, because children don't think about these things, you do something that leads somebody-- your mother, your teacher, the lady who runs the candy house-- to say That kid is special. You pick up, along the way, some honest basic virtues: you get a little angry when something seems unfair; you get a little sad when a dog dies or a friend falls off his bike; you get a little excited when somebody gives you a new ...more
Sheri
So I came across the book in an interview with one of the (hundreds) of Dem presidential candidates (Michael Bennett). As I am trying to read more about race, it seemed like an interesting memoir to put on my to-reads.

Overall Gerald has a decent voice. He is sort of tongue-in-cheek sorry for himself at times and also overly grateful at times; I had a hard time myself figuring out if he truly feels honored and lucky to have been pulled out (he tries hard to dispel the "pulled onself up by the
...more
Jeffrey Jenkins
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Many would classify Gerald's life as a miracle or success story, but from his own account in There Will Be No Miracles Here, his story is quite the opposite. Born to a father whose journey took him from rags to riches, from star athlete to drug addict and convicted felon, Gerald's tale is tragic. However, he offers a rare look into what it is like to be raised as an underprivileged gay black youth who gains access to privilege via a football scholarship to Yale University, a degree from the ...more
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