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The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,161 ratings  ·  310 reviews
When you hear the phrase pop culture, you likely think reality television, boy bands or Real Housewives of various cities. While these are elements of popular culture, they aren’t all it has to offer. Pop culture may not cure diseases, topple political regimes, or make scientific breakthroughs, but it does play a vital role in the story of humanity.

In fact, it’s pretty har
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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Josh Yes. Knox covers a wide variety of pop culture but you don't need to have a Master's Degree in pop culture to get his references.…moreYes. Knox covers a wide variety of pop culture but you don't need to have a Master's Degree in pop culture to get his references.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Cards on the table, I'm a fan of Knox McCoy as a blogger and a podcaster and I think that he and I would get along just swimmingly if ever we were to meet. But I'm not a huge fan of this book, a mishmash of pop culture references, Southern dude memoirs, and ankle-deep evangelical Christian philosophy that doesn't seem to serve any apparent purpose beyond scratching Knox McCoy's itch to publish something in paperback form. There are some fun observations and connections here, and that's probably ...more
Kate McPherson
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uh, 10,000 points to Gryffindor because this book is amazing. It's like if Lorelai Gilmore wandering into your living room and started waxing theologic. I have never met Knox, but I'm pretty sure we would be best friends based on the sheer pop culture references that made me laugh. And the section where he talks about converting dogs to Christianity after seeing All Dogs Go To Heaven? Literally on the floor laughing (and yes, I know what literally means). Must read. ...more
Emily (emilyreadsbooks)
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Thanks to W Publishing and NetGalley for an early look at a book I've pre-ordered!

In an effort to explain to my inquisitive four-year-old why saying "God is light" doesn't mean God is, in fact, the moon, I put my English degree to good use describing how metaphors use ideas we already understand to illuminate more complicated concepts.

That's exactly what Knox McCoy does in The Wondering Years. In a voice that is humorous, heartwarming, and perceptive, Knox shares pop culture anecdotes and analo
Laura Tremaine
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed these essays from my friend and fellow podcaster Knox McCoy. I laughed out loud throughout.
Aimee Kollmansberger
Fun + entertaining read but the essays were a bit disjointed for me. I would read several and then wonder what did I just read? The consistent footnotes are one of the humor highlights, and the last chapter is more of what I wish the whole book had been. It was in that chapter where I felt a true connection + real relatability to the author. That’s where he found his stride.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Knox McCoy must be about the same age as I am, because we have almost all the same pop-culture touchstones (minus, for me, most of the sports references) although I have not kept up with his pace of pop-culture consumption. He grew up in the South so his early faith framework is familiar but certainly more rigid than what I grew up with. Nonetheless, I related strongly to his childhood perspectives. This book definitely made me laugh out loud (That dog-conversion chapter? Golden) and there were ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: truth, nonfiction
"More than anything, God spoke to my heart and revealed that he really was fine with questions. Because at the end of the day, he knows that the answers to all the questions I’m wondering about, and have been wondering about for all these years, they’ve always led back to him. So why wouldn’t they still?"
I wanted to give this a higher rating but I just didn't love it. I appreciate McCoy's vulnerability throughout; however, a lot of the pop culture correlations just fell flat. The connection wasn
Kaytee Cobb
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Plenty of fun and laughs and cunning observations. Audiobook is totally the way to go. Had a great time listening to this on a road trip with my adult sibling and parents. We all found something to laugh at.
Alison (The Lowrey Library)
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
If I could give this book one adjective it would “relatable.”

As a Southern Baptist born and raised, introvert by nature, and INTJ/Enneagram 5, I found many elements of this book to be 1) hilarious and 2) reflective of my own experiences.

I spent my childhood and adolescence on mission trips, at VBS weeks, attending Teamkid and youth group, and going to church camp (often twice) every summer. My faith life was very easy until it wasn’t, and in college when I started to experience moments of doub
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own, 2019-reading
This book frustrated me on several levels. The bad jokes I can forgive - and they weren't all bad, some really made me laugh - but the faulty theology and lazy spirituality I can't.

Most of it felt like the author was using his beliefs as an excuse to make as many pop culture references as humanly possible, not the other way around. And I wanted a book that was the other way around. Each chapter ended on a very tenuous connection to some deeper issue of faith, but always in a way that made me sc
Jill Robinson
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
At first I was less than impressed. After all, I am a huge Popcast fan and it almost felt like Knox was just throwing around a ton of words and not saying much of anything. But the more I got into it, the deeper it got and Knox’s transparency is greatly appreciated. He admits what we all know about ourselves—we don’t have it all together. But God is so much bigger than that. Well done Knox!
PS: you can definitely tell this was written by an enneagram 5!
Tyler Mills
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of pop culture, fans of laughter, fans of the word 'swashbuckling'

After finishing this book, I had to step back and assess whether Knox McCoy and I are actually the same person. Was my life the plot of Mr. Robot, just with (slightly) less existential dread and more teen TV dramas? While I may never know if I've actually been a popular podcaster and talented writer my entire life, I do know that this book is simultaneously the most entertaining and thought provoking piece of literature I've read in a long time.

The Wondering Years is a refreshingly vulnerable

Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Listened on audio, and I literally laughed until I cried in some parts! It was all so tragically relatable, especially in regards to kids church in the 90s. I shared parts with my 12 year old son, such as Knox's commentary between his mom and God about Abraham and Isaac, and so many other parts that had us in hysterics. It was heartfelt, honest, fun, and pushed the envelope for Christian books in such an important way! Great job, Knox! (Although I do feel that I could school you on the dinosaurs ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4 stars

* - Pop culture
** - "No Thanks" section in the Acknowledgements
*** - Scripts
**** - Footnotes

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I listen to the author's podcast (The Popcast w/ Knox & Jamie) every week, and had been looking forward to reading this book. There were a lot of footnotes with funny asides. As McCoy has a background in screen-writing, he put that skill set to use by interspersing "scenes" throughout the chapters. My one disappointment was that the connections he made
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
Pop Sugar Challenge: Read a book with the word "Pop" in the title

I am a big fan of the author's podcast The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. This is a bit of a spiritual memoir with a lot of humor and pop culture. I really enjoyed it. I loved the snarkiness of many aspects of Evangelical culture and appreciated how different things in popular culture helped Knox grasp the "big picture ideas" in Christianity. This felt like grabbing coffee with a friend.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I laughed out loud repeatedly. I think what made it extra funny to me was, as an avid listener of The Popcast, I read the whole book in Knox’s voice. I especially loved the footnotes where he inserted his snarky comments like he would in the podcast as well.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A memoir laced with sarcastic pop culture references, what more could you want?
Stacy Laue
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this and took my time through. Full of laughs, tender hearted and convicting moments about what it is to go through life and finally feel freedom to question and wrestle with God. Felt this one deep, y’all.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The humor in these essays is top notch, but the message was not always clear. I would get to the end of a chapter and think ... wait, what?

But still, very funny. I would recommend this one for sure!
Carmen Liffengren
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
What's my green light this week? The Wondering Years!

As a long time listener of the Popcast with Knox and Jamie, I was eager to read Knox's book, The Wondering Years. I was not disappointed by his memoir. He's equal parts humorous and introspective. The Wondering Years is about the intersection of faith and pop culture. Knox grew up Evangelical in the South. He makes a compelling case about how his touchstones for pop culture taught him nuance somehow filling in the gaps in his faith formation.
Zachary Houle
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
There has always been a book waiting to be written about God and pop culture. After all, there are areas where the sacred overlaps with the secular. Personally, I’ve always felt that if I had more of a brain for processing what pop culture means in the area of faith, I’d write a book that would at least partially answer how Kendrick Lamar can write a song about being a sinner and knowing that he’s going to sin again before asking not only for God to forgive him, but for his bitch to not get in t ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book made me laugh out loud a lot of times. I listened to it and the author reads it and his voice and inflections were especially fantastic. I was listening to it on headphones while vacuuming the inside of my car at one point, just freaking DY-ing laughing. Good times.

I found his ponderings on Christianity really interesting. So much of his Evangelical church upbringing felt very similar to my Mormon upbringing, and it was fun to compare. His teenage missionary attempts were so good/bad/
This was just an easy little read full of reflections about growing up as a Christian in the 80s'90's and how to reconcile that version of faith with faith as an adult...also including unending pop culture references, which sometimes made me laugh and sometimes just annoyed me- like, ok, get on with the point- ha. There were a few real gems that I highlighted. Here is one: "When the only reality we are forced to consider is the same color and belief system as our own, it narrows our lenses and f ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was different than I expected, but I went into it without knowing anything about the author. He is entertaining and funny. Sometimes he tries a little too hard, but that’s forgivable. His humor and story-telling remind me of a couple close people in my life, which is probably why I was drawn in. We also have a lot in common. He asserts some interesting conclusions about Christianity that seem to be based solely on his experiences. Maybe he has scriptural support, but if he does, he did ...more
Julie Harris
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: faith, memoir, 2019
I love The Popcast and often laugh way too hard and inappropriately loud while listening, so I was pumped to read this book. I love how Knox weaved parts of his life and faith together. This book was a bit hard to read with all the footnotes (and while they were wildly funny) seemed a bit distracting at points. Because I’m a 90’s kid, it was also a bit hard to follow his pop culture references as well. Overall, I enjoyed reading about the life of a podcaster that questions his faith, many things ...more
Lauren Bencick
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Knox's book! I'm a semi-regular listener to his podcast; I'm sure I would've enjoyed it somewhat more if I was a regular listener, but I still found it to be a delightful read. I really appreciated how open Knox was about his journey through faith and as a fellow VBS "victim" I found his chapter on VBS to be 100% relatable and hilarious. As a whole this book was funny, honest, and completely entertaining. ...more
Cheree Moore
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book via his hilarious podcast, The Bible Binge (he also hosts The Popcast). Knox McCoy’s book “The Wondering Years” is truly funny. Like in an Erma Bombeck kind of way, but with a focus on growing up in a conservative Christian family in the South. He doesn’t put anyone down but was really relatable in this personal memoir of growing up and coming to his own faith. Definitely worth a read if you grew up in the 80s/90s.
Amanda Taddey
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a book can make you laugh out loud and think deeply on the same page, you know it’s a winner. Knox shares insights into how pop culture has helped to shift his views on faith and God. He doesn’t have all the answers and neither should we. His vulnerability is inspiring and hilarious at the same time. FIVE STARS FOREVER!
Marci-Beth Maple
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Knox McCoy and his podcast partner, Jamie, so I was inclined to enjoy this book and I was not disappointed. I found his writing structure creative, his spiritual insights authentic and honest, and there wasn't a single essay I would have left out. If you are a fan of pop culture and a fan of Jesus, this will be a treat of a read. ...more
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