SOCIAL SCIENCES

I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé

Atria. Jul. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781501178856. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781501178863. BIOG
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Arceneaux's debut is both funny and serious; containing humorous essays about being gay, being black, and growing up in Houston. His storytelling has a degree of panache that puts him in league with some of the best personal essayists writing today. He also grew up Roman Catholic, which plays a large role in many of his essays. His formal education took him to Howard University while his romantic schooling took him through the trials and tribulations of contemporary gaydom, with its ups and downs. Arceneaux knows how to take serious matters, such as when asked to join the priesthood and making the irony deeply human. He talks about one of the classic locations of black male solidarity, the barber shop, and reveals how it can be a minefield for a gay man. These few examples don't do justice to the wit and verve with which the author writes; there are shifting emotions, reflecting someone revealing his deepest self.
VERDICT Arceneaux is forthcoming in such a way that readers will feel like they're having a conversation with a good friend; a personal story for all readers.

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