Cannarf Review: Churched by Matthew Paul Turner

Author: Matthew Paul Turner

Book Name: churched: one kid’s journey towards God despite a holy mess

I’m Glad it Wasn’t Called: Legalistic Christianity Sucks a Root.

Book Synopsis in Twitteresque 140 characters or less: Growing up in a legalistic church, while potentially scarring at the time, makes for a fascinating read years later.

Where I Bought It: Actually, I got it for Christmas from my mom.

Paid for With: I’m not about to ask my mom how she paid for this book, though I’m betting she used pictures I made in high school art class as currency. Having those things sitting in the attic is like keeping Microsoft stock certificates in a junk drawer.

How Long it Took Me to Read: 1 plane ride…almost. I read all but 30 pages on a recent flight from Philly to Dallas. Finished the book the next day.

Who I WOULD NOT recommend this book to: The wacky pastor Matthew grew up under. Pastor Nolan, or whatever your real name is, you might want to sit this book out. In fact, may I suggest you go pick up a copy of “The Grace Awakening” by Chaz Swindoll and give it a whirl.

Who I WOULD recommend this book to: My pastor (and good friend) Sam. Although, he doesn’t need the recommendation. When i got up to use the restroom during the flight he grabbed the book and didn’t want to give it back. Later in the flight he grabbed it again and was audibly laughing with each turn of the page.

What I used for a bookmark: I went with the dusk jacket since it was a hardcover. In an unrelated note, I completed the crossword puzzle in the airplane magazine with only 1 letter wrong while Sam was reading and giggling. I felt pretty good about myself until I saw that I had done the “Easy” crossword puzzle. Go figure.

What were some interesting stories from the book: Quite a few to choose from, as the storytelling is the strong point of the book. My favorite story was probably when one of the deacons dressed up like the devil and interrupted a sermon looking for a staged fight with “the man of God”.

What were some interesting stories NOT from the book: There was that one time when someone bit off all their fingernails and left them in a pile on Carolyn Richardson’s bible, which was sitting harmlessly on a windowsill during fellowship lunch. Carolyn was not amused at the pile of keratin shards on her Holy Word, and immediately came up to the perpetrator and said, “Get those fingernails off my Bible!!!”. (This was not in the book because it happened to me, not Matthew. And again, I’m sorry Mrs. Richardson. That was pretty gross.)

What I learned from this book that I will apply to my next book: When you tell stories about your mom and dad in a book, it’s okay if you have to embarrass them a little. The truth can be funny sometimes, as long as the truth is not that they beat you on a daily basis with a sack of coffee mugs. (which, thankfully, neither my parents nor Matthew’s parents ever did.)

Expectations Going In: I thought it would be  a slower read than it was. I was expecting a more even mix of storytelling and adult reflections, but it was almost all storytelling and it worked. In terms of humor, I expected the book to be amusing and it was. I wasn’t laughing as much as Sam was, but it did make me chuckle audibly a few times, which is tough to do.

Cannarf Rating: I had high expectations going in, knowing that Matthew is a great writer and humorist. Even still, the book surprised me by being such an easy read. I was going to give it +2 cannarfs, but I’m going to bump it up one more just because it had my Pastor ROFL up and down the aisle of flight 2564.  The Rating: +3 cannarfs. (what’s a cannarf?)

Have any of you read Churched? If so, what’s your cannarf rating?