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Featured as one of Summer 2018’s most anticipated reads by the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Buzzfeed, and Bitch Media. In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, Featured as one of Summer 2018’s most anticipated reads by the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Buzzfeed, and Bitch Media. In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity. It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux. Equality for LGBT people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being black in America is…well, have you watched the news? With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite. He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; that time his father asked if he was “funny” while shaking his hand; his obstacles in embracing intimacy; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams. Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Phoebe Robinson, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us—without apologies—what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.


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Featured as one of Summer 2018’s most anticipated reads by the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Buzzfeed, and Bitch Media. In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, Featured as one of Summer 2018’s most anticipated reads by the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Buzzfeed, and Bitch Media. In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity. It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux. Equality for LGBT people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being black in America is…well, have you watched the news? With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite. He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; that time his father asked if he was “funny” while shaking his hand; his obstacles in embracing intimacy; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams. Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Phoebe Robinson, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us—without apologies—what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    There are stories that simply demand to be told and Michael Arceneaux’s is one such story. In I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé, Arceneaux writes from his life as a black gay man with an uncanny strength of conviction and such fine wit. The essays collected here reveal Arceneaux at his finest, as he grapples with the very things that shape our lives--faith, family, and finding a way into the world he wants to be a part of. Whether he is w There are stories that simply demand to be told and Michael Arceneaux’s is one such story. In I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé, Arceneaux writes from his life as a black gay man with an uncanny strength of conviction and such fine wit. The essays collected here reveal Arceneaux at his finest, as he grapples with the very things that shape our lives--faith, family, and finding a way into the world he wants to be a part of. Whether he is writing about coming to terms with his father’s rage or his complicated relationship to Christianity or his trepidations about dating and finding human connection, Arceneaux makes keen observations and sculpts beauty from the ugly things a lesser writer would shy away from. This is not a perfect book--there are some odd structure choices in a few of the essays and a bit too much unnecessary detail in others, but the critical thinking, from beginning to end, is outstanding. I Can’t Date Jesus is a must-read collection from a rising, unforgettable voice.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    3.5 stars here. "It's often said that knowing who you are, or at the very least possessing a sneaking suspicion of such early in life, is a blessing. The people who share this sentiment need to write it on a piece of paper, ball it up, and then proceed to pour barbecue sauce all over it as they eat it. Early self-awareness is a blessing only if who you are comes with a support system and an education. If you don't have those, it's easy to find yourself feeling stuck and sullen. I learned a certai 3.5 stars here. "It's often said that knowing who you are, or at the very least possessing a sneaking suspicion of such early in life, is a blessing. The people who share this sentiment need to write it on a piece of paper, ball it up, and then proceed to pour barbecue sauce all over it as they eat it. Early self-awareness is a blessing only if who you are comes with a support system and an education. If you don't have those, it's easy to find yourself feeling stuck and sullen. I learned a certain part of my identity very early, but it was met with a near-instant confirmation of how unwelcome that part of my identity was to those surrounding me." At turns poignant, sharply insightful, and utterly hilarious, I Can't Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux's collection of essays about what it's like to be a young black man growing up knowing you're gay but trying to do everything to hide it from your ultra-religious mother, your homophobic father, and a society that embraces masculinity and toughness. It's a book about self-acceptance, self-worth, and the need to live your life on your own terms, no matter what others may think or expect. Arceneaux approaches each aspect of his life with humor and sensitivity, and a healthy dose of self-deprecation. From being recruited for the priesthood at a time when he wasn't willing to accept who he was to numerous attempts to date (or even just hook up), from coming out to friends, family, and his mother, to his struggles with self-esteem (especially his hair), he doesn't play it all for laughs, but he's not afraid to tell it like it is—even his encounters which left him attacked by fire ants and maybe even fleas. "The pattern that required my real attention was my turning to sexually confused men for sexual exploration. It was like my turning to someone who can't figure out 'there,' 'they're,' and 'their' to edit your essay." The book delves deeper than simply exploring a man's journey to find himself and his place in the world. It's also a look at our current political situation, as well as a paean to his ultimate savior, Beyoncé. With each essay he makes you laugh, but he also makes you feel and he makes you think about things a little bit differently than you might have when you started reading. There were times when this book absolutely clicked for me, times when I thought, "Yep, that happened to me," or felt the same embarrassment or emotions that Arceneaux recounted. At other times I couldn't quite identify, since while I faced my share of bullying and disapproval related to my sexuality when I was growing up and moving into adulthood, those feelings weren't also couched in the expectations of an entire race or the devotion of religion. Arceneaux's voice is so vivid in this book; it almost felt like he was reading the essays to me at times. (I'd imagine if he reads his own audiobook it would be quite fun to listen to.) While he has faced many challenges in his life, in part, they made him the insightful, emotionally astute, and funny-as-hell person he is today, and I'm thankful he was willing to share his story with us. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    When I saw the title of this book, before even reading the synopsis, I knew i had to read it. Anyone who can think up a title like I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé deserves to have their book read. I'd never heard of Michael Arceneaux prior to this book, and so I wasn't familiar with his writing. He's hysterical! I really enjoyed reading this memoir; his sarcastic and dry humor made this a very fun memoir to read. A couple of times, I go When I saw the title of this book, before even reading the synopsis, I knew i had to read it. Anyone who can think up a title like I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé deserves to have their book read. I'd never heard of Michael Arceneaux prior to this book, and so I wasn't familiar with his writing. He's hysterical! I really enjoyed reading this memoir; his sarcastic and dry humor made this a very fun memoir to read. A couple of times, I got bored reading about the men he dated and would have preferred hearing more about his childhood and his thoughts on religion and politics instead of dick (that's not a homophobic thing -- that's a lesbian thing; just not interested in hearing about them!). However, it was still enjoyable to read. Michael was raised by a devout Catholic mother and an abusive father. Knowing early on that he was interested in boys and not girls and, having been told that homosexuality was against God's will (by his mother) and disgusting and would result in HIV/AIDS (by his father), Michael struggled with his sexuality. This book is his journey to self-acceptance, and his thoughts on a great many subjects, such as music, religion, politics, racism, and LGBQT+ issues. His wit and sarcasm are prevalent throughout, inducing many chuckles and outright belly laughs. It is an insightful book as well, shedding light on the particular issues and obstacles placed in the path of an African American gay man. All in all, this is an informative and fun book to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé is a collection of essays written by Michael Arceneaux. Although Arceneaux is a seasoned writer, this is his first published book and it is filled with life experiences related to family, race, sexuality, religion, politics, culture, LGBTQ community...and yes, even Beyoncé. From childhood to adulthood, it's there. Honest, funny, sensitive, heartbreaking, perspective-altering, and unapologetically in your I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé is a collection of essays written by Michael Arceneaux. Although Arceneaux is a seasoned writer, this is his first published book and it is filled with life experiences related to family, race, sexuality, religion, politics, culture, LGBTQ community...and yes, even Beyoncé. From childhood to adulthood, it's there. Honest, funny, sensitive, heartbreaking, perspective-altering, and unapologetically in your face. I did say funny, right? It's worth mentioning again. His humor generously takes the edge off all the emotional scarring he has endured. Arceneaux shares that it wasn't easy growing up as Black and gay with no support system, and having his very identity translated into damaging messages that had to be unlearned. Where does Beyoncé come in? Well, being a Houston, Texas native herself, and an individual who stands firm in who she is regardless of any opposition, Arceneaux has gained strength from her strength. We all have that one person who has had great impact on our lives (whether they know it or not) and Beyoncé is his. After reading the essay he devoted to her, I can completely understand why. With fifteen essays (plus an engaging introduction and epilogue), Arceneaux covers a variety of topics that will surely provide readers with validation, hope, and a sense of community. This was my first experience with Michael Arceneaux's writing but it certainly won't be my last. Talent, perspective, and smiles. It's a winner! Access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Author: Michael Arceneaux Publisher: Atria Books/37 INK Genres: Entertainment, LGBTQ Nonfiction Pub Date: July 24, 2018

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Contender for fave memoir title of 2018 Although not familiar with the work of Michael Arceneaux, I was intrigued to explore this collection of memoir essays. Even though this book didn't have me rolling on the floor with belly laughs, I enjoyed the feel of the book. As if, Michael Arceneaux, was sitting across from me in a cafe and pouring out his perspectives on the Catholic faith, his struggles with coming out to family and friends, thoughts on dating/marriage, American politics, and his lov Contender for fave memoir title of 2018 Although not familiar with the work of Michael Arceneaux, I was intrigued to explore this collection of memoir essays. Even though this book didn't have me rolling on the floor with belly laughs, I enjoyed the feel of the book. As if, Michael Arceneaux, was sitting across from me in a cafe and pouring out his perspectives on the Catholic faith, his struggles with coming out to family and friends, thoughts on dating/marriage, American politics, and his love for Beyonce. But I guess if we were really having coffee I would probably be shushing him to stop talking about his blowjobs. Book will be published in July 2018. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hackett

    Honestly, this book read like a cross between a long-winded gchat conversation and a celebrity memoir. Being that the author is both not famous and not my friend, I really struggled to get through this one. Can’t recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    4/4.5 stars- The perspective of this memoir is one that I think is much needed and I would love to see more of: what does it look like to reckon with people and institutions that on some level don't want you, even when you have lingering love or affection from them? Michael Arceneaux grapples with these questions very thoughtfully on many levels: as a "recovering Catholic," as a gay child of a religious mother, as an adult child of an alcoholic and abusive father, as a black gay man in a white d 4/4.5 stars- The perspective of this memoir is one that I think is much needed and I would love to see more of: what does it look like to reckon with people and institutions that on some level don't want you, even when you have lingering love or affection from them? Michael Arceneaux grapples with these questions very thoughtfully on many levels: as a "recovering Catholic," as a gay child of a religious mother, as an adult child of an alcoholic and abusive father, as a black gay man in a white dominated gay culture, etc. etc. I found this to be very moving, and I admire how he unfolded the story, adding layers and nuances as each chapter progressed. This book is definitely funny at times, but I would say that is not the overall tone of the book. If that is your expectation, I think you would be disappointed or confused, so I wanted to clarify that despite the comedic tone of the title itself (which is great, btw), this is not a humorous memoir or an ironic take on pop culture. Rather, there are funny moments and observations about pop culture that are incorporated into the larger personal story he is telling. All told, I really enjoyed this, particularly the religious aspects, and am excited to read more from him in the future. Also, big cosign on a wholesale rejection of Beytheism. Life is too short.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Michael Arceneaux was raised Catholic, and he has spent much of his life trying to reconcile his identity as a gay man with the faith of his childhood. He’s also an incisive cultural commentator when it comes to issues of race and class. This is a person who thinks deeply, who has analyzed his life and in this book offers up some of the conclusions he’s drawn and the steps he’s still taking to understand himself and his family. I love collections like this--personal essays that make you laugh an Michael Arceneaux was raised Catholic, and he has spent much of his life trying to reconcile his identity as a gay man with the faith of his childhood. He’s also an incisive cultural commentator when it comes to issues of race and class. This is a person who thinks deeply, who has analyzed his life and in this book offers up some of the conclusions he’s drawn and the steps he’s still taking to understand himself and his family. I love collections like this--personal essays that make you laugh and make you think, sometimes on the same page. And audio is the way to go, no question. Hearing Arceneaux’s words in his own voice is a special experience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    You need not be black, gay, or a man to enjoy the keen observations noted in Michael Arceneaux's book. However, if you are either or all three of these attributes, the better the ride. In his memoir, he digs into the daily nuances, joys, and hypocrisies granted in one's life as those attributes add spice. He knocks down hypersexual stereotypes placed upon gay men of color. He embraces his obsession with Beyonce. He faces the challenge of a religion that refuses to acknowledge his existence, even You need not be black, gay, or a man to enjoy the keen observations noted in Michael Arceneaux's book. However, if you are either or all three of these attributes, the better the ride. In his memoir, he digs into the daily nuances, joys, and hypocrisies granted in one's life as those attributes add spice. He knocks down hypersexual stereotypes placed upon gay men of color. He embraces his obsession with Beyonce. He faces the challenge of a religion that refuses to acknowledge his existence, even in the eyes of his religious mother. While he's humorous, do not think for a moment that the story's a laugh a minute. He's earnest. He's true, and sometimes, his discussions, especially his relationship with his father, breaks one's heart (I related all too well). As a former Catholic, like him, I too grappled with my sexuality and the church. But, unlike him, I came out later than him and I'm grateful he found his voice and refused to silence it. All in all, this memoir deserves a read and I can only hope readers approach this story with an open heart and mind because you will surely miss out on a great life shared. 4/5

  10. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    Hilarious. Michael Arceneaux made me laugh out loud and feel those sad points with him where necessary. His writing style is hilarious and relatable. Thanks for putting me on to the term “Beytheist”- I now have a term for crazy people who don’t believe in our shared God! Sometimes, it was a little too much at points - where it came to talking about the rashes etc etc - like I didn’t need to know that shit, but overall I Can’t Date Jesus was pretty funny and is well-worth the read. I can see youn Hilarious. Michael Arceneaux made me laugh out loud and feel those sad points with him where necessary. His writing style is hilarious and relatable. Thanks for putting me on to the term “Beytheist”- I now have a term for crazy people who don’t believe in our shared God! Sometimes, it was a little too much at points - where it came to talking about the rashes etc etc - like I didn’t need to know that shit, but overall I Can’t Date Jesus was pretty funny and is well-worth the read. I can see young gay black people in the church, especially men, who many times are socialized to be silent and just generally not given the space to get into their feelings, finding a real base here in these essays and in the situations he describes. Hard 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    In Michael Arceneaux's debut book "I Can't Date Jesus," he tackles topics ranging from dating to sex to family, race, and religion. In each instance, his conversations on these topics follow lines of thinking that are relevant to contemporary readers - queer and straight alike - and he, in many cases, make important contributions to queer writing on these topics. However, in almost every essay in this collection, Arceneaux's own writing style gets in his way. Some have classified his writing as " In Michael Arceneaux's debut book "I Can't Date Jesus," he tackles topics ranging from dating to sex to family, race, and religion. In each instance, his conversations on these topics follow lines of thinking that are relevant to contemporary readers - queer and straight alike - and he, in many cases, make important contributions to queer writing on these topics. However, in almost every essay in this collection, Arceneaux's own writing style gets in his way. Some have classified his writing as "conversational" and in many cases this is certainly true. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a conversational tone in writing. The problem with Arecenaux's writing in this collection is not this but rather an overwhelming and consistent misuse of metaphor and simile. On almost every page of this book there is at least one metaphor that stretches for 2 or more lines, dragging sentences through the mud and making what the author is trying to say ultimately unclear. His use of metaphor seems to reflect an ongoing attempt at humor, but the problem is that these metaphors, because they are so long, make reading the book much more laborious than it ought be. Additionally, Arceneaux's writing in this collection is populated with numerous rabbit trails. What I mean by this is that he has a tendency to, while telling a story, insert a short sentence of relevance to the story, and then feel the need to expand on the background behind this short sentence by going on a multi-paragraph tangent. While many of these tangents are interesting, they distract from the central storyline and make following this storyline incredibly difficult. And, in a few cases, these tangents, again, seem meant to add humor to the book but also feel incredibly out of place. These issues added to some other problematic comments that pepper this book, made reading it a challenge. And, by the end of the book, this was a disappointment because many of the stories in this book are deep, interesting, and thoughtful. In particular, Arceneaux's recounting of his relationship to his father was powerful and meaningful, and interestingly, didn't have the literary problems many of the other essays had. His essays on the barbershop and his mother were, additionally, moving and powerful. At the end of the day, approach this book with trepidation, for the power held in some, but not all, of the stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    I love a book with a great title, even when it is a little blasphemous. I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and other Reasons I've Put My Faith In Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux is a timely, relevant collection of essays that demands to be read. I was not familiar with Michael Arceneaux before picking up this book but in reading this book I felt like I got to know him a lot. This book, while it can be funny, tackles some uncomfortable topics- that being religion. Arceneaux coming out stor I love a book with a great title, even when it is a little blasphemous. I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and other Reasons I've Put My Faith In Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux is a timely, relevant collection of essays that demands to be read. I was not familiar with Michael Arceneaux before picking up this book but in reading this book I felt like I got to know him a lot. This book, while it can be funny, tackles some uncomfortable topics- that being religion. Arceneaux coming out story broke me, it blows my mind how in this day and age people are still grappling with some of the things he discussed here. I am happy he found a space to be himself, a space where he is truly accepted and I look forward to reading more of his works. I have to admit, I am proud Beytheist .

  13. 5 out of 5

    heba

    Recently I got back my ACT scores for the December national test. I had a subscription to this online prep website where student can take prep exams and practice questions in the categories they are weak at. There was also a public message board where everyone from all over the country could write messages that everyone can see and respond to. They could be questions, tips, advice, etc. There was one conversation that REALLY popped out. It went like this: person 1- why can't women get testicular Recently I got back my ACT scores for the December national test. I had a subscription to this online prep website where student can take prep exams and practice questions in the categories they are weak at. There was also a public message board where everyone from all over the country could write messages that everyone can see and respond to. They could be questions, tips, advice, etc. There was one conversation that REALLY popped out. It went like this: person 1- why can't women get testicular cancer? person 2- Because you need testes to get cancer in them. person 1- okay but men can get breast cancer who's to say women can't get testicular cancer? person 2- Men have breasts! Women don't have testes! And the conversation went on and on and on. It was hilarious. Kinda like this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Brunson

    Thank you Atria Books for providing me with a copy for an honest review. I haven’t read anything by Michael Arceneaux before, but when I heard he was from Houston like me and saw the title I knew I wanted to read it. This was compared toYou Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and I loved that book last year. This guy is hilarious as hell and he kept me laughing while reading. The style of the book feels as if we are having dinner and he’s telling me about his life. It’s v Thank you Atria Books for providing me with a copy for an honest review. I haven’t read anything by Michael Arceneaux before, but when I heard he was from Houston like me and saw the title I knew I wanted to read it. This was compared toYou Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and I loved that book last year. This guy is hilarious as hell and he kept me laughing while reading. The style of the book feels as if we are having dinner and he’s telling me about his life. It’s very laid back but don’t think that he’s not hitting you with some hard-hitting truths about the world. I learned a lot from reading about the obstacles he had to face and go through as a gay black man. We also get topics from race, religion, and his love for Beyonce. I love his candor and his sense of humor: “You want to learn how to give up on humanity? Ride the bus in L.A.” “Are you a homosexual?” “Yes, as long as women still come with vaginas.” My favorite part of the book was all of the Houston references. People outside of Houston might not understand them, but I loved seeing my city in a book. I did have to knock some stars off because it a little heavy in unnecessary information and also very heavy on sexual topics. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I know that some people might not enjoy it. All in all, this book was entertaining as it was informational and I can’t wait to read more from him. **Quotes are from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Follow Books and Blends on: Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  15. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    “Some parts of my life are sad, but I am not a sad spirit.” So reads a line from the epilogue to I Can’t Date Jesus, a touching, honest, and highly entertaining collection of reflections from Michael Arceneaux, one of my favorite culture writers. I completed this book quite quickly as I was devouring it similarly to the way I often do writings by Arceneaux: with many an internal head nod, several audible chuckles, and constant reminders that despite being my opposite in so many ways, Michael Arc “Some parts of my life are sad, but I am not a sad spirit.” So reads a line from the epilogue to I Can’t Date Jesus, a touching, honest, and highly entertaining collection of reflections from Michael Arceneaux, one of my favorite culture writers. I completed this book quite quickly as I was devouring it similarly to the way I often do writings by Arceneaux: with many an internal head nod, several audible chuckles, and constant reminders that despite being my opposite in so many ways, Michael Arceneaux writes in a manner that feels familiar and engaging all the same. As stated in many reviews and in the interviews I have seen concerning it, this book relays the story that isn’t shared often enough but surely deserves its rightful place in the minds of many. In relaying his story, one full of heartbreaking and hilarious moments alike, Arceneaux is able to elevate his voice and thus offer space for others who feel similarly, share parallel experiences, are starved for this needed perspective, or a combination of all three. Despite being fully intrigued by the story being told, I did experience some moments where I wish the details allotted were reserved for the points I felt more compelling as a reader. Given this is something that can likely be attributed to personal preference, it’s surely not a detail to dissuade a potential reader from picking this up. At its core, this collection offers insight into the experiences that yielded an incredibly gifted writer and offered a layer of humanity and additional honesty I didn’t know I needed to someone I have long supported by way of many a retweet, click, or share. Definitely one I recommend!

  16. 5 out of 5

    cat

    I love that he is telling the stories of his life - and I wanted to 5 star it for the fact that we NEED more black gay writers to tell the truths of their lives. Ultimately though, I just couldn't love the book even while I love the existence of the book. Conversational tone and tangent-based storytelling aside (hi! that's my style too!), it felt clunkily constructed and I never fully engaged with the way he told his story. Looking forward to seeing where he goes next, though, as a writer. I love that he is telling the stories of his life - and I wanted to 5 star it for the fact that we NEED more black gay writers to tell the truths of their lives. Ultimately though, I just couldn't love the book even while I love the existence of the book. Conversational tone and tangent-based storytelling aside (hi! that's my style too!), it felt clunkily constructed and I never fully engaged with the way he told his story. Looking forward to seeing where he goes next, though, as a writer.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn

    LOVED this book. Another unique and necessary voice to add to the LGBTQ+ canon of literature.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really admire writers who can take their experiences, particularly traumatic experiences, and put humor to them. It is a kind of power and it is really beautiful to see, and Arceneaux does that so well. I really enjoyed this memoir, it made me laugh, but it also made me feel his pain deeply. He's been through a lot and he is honest in his struggles in his own acceptance, as well as the acceptance of those he loves the most, with the specter of Catholicism hanging above it all. What I appreciat I really admire writers who can take their experiences, particularly traumatic experiences, and put humor to them. It is a kind of power and it is really beautiful to see, and Arceneaux does that so well. I really enjoyed this memoir, it made me laugh, but it also made me feel his pain deeply. He's been through a lot and he is honest in his struggles in his own acceptance, as well as the acceptance of those he loves the most, with the specter of Catholicism hanging above it all. What I appreciated most in here was the complexity of his relationships with his parents, as he can recognize the ways in which they have harmed him, but forgive them enough to try to forage a relationship, accept THEM as THEY are. As he said in the book: "No one is completely good or bad, and many of us carry the potential for monstrosity. And whether or not we get into this depends on how we deal with our demons." Arceneaux really faces his own demons head on and allows us into those moments of intimacy. His voice is unique and vital and different, as a Black gay Catholic man in media, and I really fell in love with his personality and love for Beyonce while reading his story. I loved the way it ended, not always believing in God but believing in himself. And his capacity for growth: "I’ve long been a late bloomer but better late than never."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bri (readingknitter.com)

    I really thought I was going to go through all of 2018 only reading books written by women, but Michael Arcenaux's debut I Can't Date Jesus sounded too intriguing to ignore. Despite not reading any of Arceneaux's work before, I really enjoyed reading his memoir essays. He's a big shot in the journalism world, particularly known for writing from the gay and black POV, but you don't need to know his previous work to dive into this! Arceneaux brilliantly writes about the tensions between his family I really thought I was going to go through all of 2018 only reading books written by women, but Michael Arcenaux's debut I Can't Date Jesus sounded too intriguing to ignore. Despite not reading any of Arceneaux's work before, I really enjoyed reading his memoir essays. He's a big shot in the journalism world, particularly known for writing from the gay and black POV, but you don't need to know his previous work to dive into this! Arceneaux brilliantly writes about the tensions between his family, religion, sexuality, professional goals, Beyoncé, and beyond. I dug all of the Texas references (some of my favorites were deep cuts that people outside of Texas might not understand... but people read that kind of stuff all of the time about NYC, so don't let that dissuade you) and enjoyed reading about his reflections upon how his experiences, both during youth and more recently, have greatly shaped the man Arceneaux is today. Disclaimer: I was provided with a digital copy of this book for free from Atria Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and have not been influenced by Atria Books or NetGalley. For more reviews, check out www.girlwithabookblog.com!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella

    This was really cute! Don’t take it too seriously, and you should have a fun time with this one. I’m trying to stay brief, so I’ll keep my introduction to a sentence: Michael Arceneaux is witty, wordy, and weary of the foolishness he’s encountered outside of his native Houston, Texas. I say “wordy” since he often tries harder than he should with the run-on humor, and these attempts land too heavily. However, for every “okay, I get the joke” moment, there were three where he genuinely had me crack This was really cute! Don’t take it too seriously, and you should have a fun time with this one. I’m trying to stay brief, so I’ll keep my introduction to a sentence: Michael Arceneaux is witty, wordy, and weary of the foolishness he’s encountered outside of his native Houston, Texas. I say “wordy” since he often tries harder than he should with the run-on humor, and these attempts land too heavily. However, for every “okay, I get the joke” moment, there were three where he genuinely had me cracking up. This memoir succeeds most where it is conversational, and not trying to be more serious than it is. Even beyond knowing of an upcoming event where he’ll be speaking at my school, I felt a deep personal connection with Arceneaux’s story, given our similar upbringings and family dynamics. I do think because I am simultaneously reading a more serious memoir about (black) sexuality and religion, his irreverence felt particularly needed. Whether you are very familiar with the topics he discusses (queer dating on the apps™️, Beyoncé standom, post-grad woes), or if this is your first time encountering them, I think you will feel right at home with his work. Would highly recommend to brighten up your mood during one of the upcoming holidays!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Senka

    AUDIOBOOK REVIEW I wanted to love this book (here for all the black gay voices — more of them, more of their stories, now please!). I didn’t, and that’s tough to write. Reasons: 1) I listened to it as an audiobook narrated by Arceneaux himself, expecting that to be the best way to hear his stories. It wasn’t — it sounded like he was just reading somebody else’s words out loud. Obviously he’s not a trained narrator or voice actor, but the lackluster delivery took away from the substance. 2) Too ma AUDIOBOOK REVIEW I wanted to love this book (here for all the black gay voices — more of them, more of their stories, now please!). I didn’t, and that’s tough to write. Reasons: 1) I listened to it as an audiobook narrated by Arceneaux himself, expecting that to be the best way to hear his stories. It wasn’t — it sounded like he was just reading somebody else’s words out loud. Obviously he’s not a trained narrator or voice actor, but the lackluster delivery took away from the substance. 2) Too many seemingly irrelevant details that seemed to be added in to reassure folks he’s awesome (e.g.: When he talked about not even wanting to be president of the college black journalist association, but that he was basically best for the role — why is that detail necessary?). It just made him seem a bit petty. 3) Speaking of petty, he spoke badly of so many people who wronged him or just weren’t that great that he came off as less introspective and just so bitter — without a ton of lessons learned. At least I didn’t fully grasp the lessons. There were some spectacular moments (his reconciliation with his dad especially; the barbershop chronicles). I plan on reading more of his written work — especially the political pieces.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate Kaput

    Arceneaux, a comedy writer, tells of growing up Black and gay in a religious Texas home. Though he knew from a young age that he was gay, he knew, too, that he couldn't reveal it to his family. At one point, his priest even suggested he enter the priesthood - but eventually, Michael fell away from the faith, moving to bigger cities, pursuing a writing career, & exploring both race, sexuality, & other elements of his identity in ways both poignant & hilarious. Arceneaux, a comedy writer, tells of growing up Black and gay in a religious Texas home. Though he knew from a young age that he was gay, he knew, too, that he couldn't reveal it to his family. At one point, his priest even suggested he enter the priesthood - but eventually, Michael fell away from the faith, moving to bigger cities, pursuing a writing career, & exploring both race, sexuality, & other elements of his identity in ways both poignant & hilarious.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (runningonwords)

    2.5/5 I think there's a great message here, but its a bit raunchy for what I was expecting to read. I appreciate Arceneaux's storytelling (such a compelling title), but not a huge fan of his voice as an author. 2.5/5 I think there's a great message here, but its a bit raunchy for what I was expecting to read. I appreciate Arceneaux's storytelling (such a compelling title), but not a huge fan of his voice as an author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    beatricks

    Michael Arceneaux must have a great publicist. That, and a recommendation I do remember reading from Janet Mock (evidently a close friend of his), are the only reasons I can think of that this book even entered my consciousness. It occupies an awkward blind spot in subject matter: nothing to do with my life, nor so foreign that I have a lot to learn from it. To be sure, I think there are southern gay black men who were raised Christian who could blow my mind and/or make me feel like we have tons Michael Arceneaux must have a great publicist. That, and a recommendation I do remember reading from Janet Mock (evidently a close friend of his), are the only reasons I can think of that this book even entered my consciousness. It occupies an awkward blind spot in subject matter: nothing to do with my life, nor so foreign that I have a lot to learn from it. To be sure, I think there are southern gay black men who were raised Christian who could blow my mind and/or make me feel like we have tons in common, but Arceneaux just isn't that great a storyteller, IMHO. I saw a blurb comparing him to Roxane Gay and Samantha Irby, but while Gay is eloquent and powerful and Irby is hilarious and messy, Arceneaux uses pedestrian language to talk around situations, without ever really letting the reader in. There are funny spots and vulnerable spots, but all in all, I have to say I wasn't the right audience for this book, and if I were, I still think I'd be a little disappointed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emilee Hone (Emilee Reads)

    3.5/5 - Full review at emileereads: http://emileereads.com/blog/2019/5/26... I am neither gay, a man, or black, so much of this book I couldn’t understand personally. But that’s why I’m glad I read it, because Arceneaux was very open with his experiences. My favorite part was the beginning where he focused on his relationship with religion. I grew up Baptist, not Catholic, but I found myself nodding along with a lot of it. Honestly the only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read was that al 3.5/5 - Full review at emileereads: http://emileereads.com/blog/2019/5/26... I am neither gay, a man, or black, so much of this book I couldn’t understand personally. But that’s why I’m glad I read it, because Arceneaux was very open with his experiences. My favorite part was the beginning where he focused on his relationship with religion. I grew up Baptist, not Catholic, but I found myself nodding along with a lot of it. Honestly the only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read was that all of the dating stories got a bit redundant. In the 40-80% section of the book, each story seemed a lot like the one before and I started to lose track of names. Each chapter was still pretty funny overall.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    It took me a little bit of time to get really into this, but once I did, I devoured it. I enjoy reading personal essays, and definitely laughed out loud reading a many. This is a great book to read if you are interested in the intersection of being black and gay, because I think it explains a lot to those who are unknowing. Frankly, that’s why everyone should read this book. And also because he calls people who don’t love Beyoncé “beytheists,” and honestly, they deserve a name bc they deserve not It took me a little bit of time to get really into this, but once I did, I devoured it. I enjoy reading personal essays, and definitely laughed out loud reading a many. This is a great book to read if you are interested in the intersection of being black and gay, because I think it explains a lot to those who are unknowing. Frankly, that’s why everyone should read this book. And also because he calls people who don’t love Beyoncé “beytheists,” and honestly, they deserve a name bc they deserve nothing else.

  27. 5 out of 5

    La

    I LOVED this book. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and I barreled through it all in one sitting. Michael has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend, and not being talked at- or worse- reading a Very Important Serious Thing. Reading I Can’t Date Jesus felt like stumbling into a serious conversation with a close friend over a bottle of wine that stretches into the wee hours. Read it! You’ll love it too.

  28. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    Picked this up for the catchy title. Stayed for the bold and honest personal stories. Journalist/essayist Michael Arceneaux unapologetically writes about self discovery, social issues, and coming out; specifically his very religious mother’s reaction. He’s a gifted, and often hilarious, storyteller. Loved the casually tossed in pop culture references. Solid author-read audiobook.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Ellis

    The author has an original and confident voice and point of view. There’s a deceptive lightness to his tone that helps magnify some complex issues. I plan on assigning the book in my upcoming Gender, Sexuality, and Culture course

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Arceneaux describes himself as David Sedaris if Sedaris' dad had gold teeth. I laughed so hard at much of his writing and loved how honest he was about himself. I will read all of his essays online. Mr. Arceneaux, can I buy you drinks next time you're in Houston? Arceneaux describes himself as David Sedaris if Sedaris' dad had gold teeth. I laughed so hard at much of his writing and loved how honest he was about himself. I will read all of his essays online. Mr. Arceneaux, can I buy you drinks next time you're in Houston?

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