Reading "Midnight Jesus" is like a looking through a photo album. You encounter page after page of snapshots, each one filled with places and faces, and you're sitting there staring at them trying to figure them out, and behind each of them is a story.
This is a book about life's hardest moments. It's a book about people, and how sometimes they fight to go on and sometimes they give up hope.
It's a book about life's pain and perplexities, all seen through the eyes of Jamie Blaine.
It all reads like a novel peopled with vivid characters. Even if you only meet them for only a moment or two, Jamie gives you a bit of their essence.
He is great narrator. Somehow he managed to write down his experiences without making it an autobiography: "And then I did this, and this, and this..."
No, Jamie disappears into the background in the world he crafted for us- he's showing us around, but it's not all about him. Because he's not focusing on himself, his wry sense of humor really shines. I was laughing out loud at points, which felt wrong because I was reading accounts of late-night psychiatric crisis. But then, Jamie loves the Karl Barth quote "Laughter in the closest thing to the grace of God," so maybe my laughter was ok.
I wasn't sure what this book was going to be when I requested it, and you may not be sure what it is now.
It's not a self-help book, but Jamie does want you to know that you're never too far gone to be saved. It's not a counseling manual, but he believes that the most important part of helping anyone is being present and opening up to whatever they have to give. It's a not a coming-of-age book, but Jamie has a unique perspective on finding your place in the world. It's not a novel, but there's threads of redemption woven into each chapter.
I'd just say it's a really good read. "Midnight Jesus" takes you places you don't want to go- self-harm, addiction, delusions, despair, depression, the rock bottom of the pit- but our guide is convinced that there is not one corner of the earth where kindness and reconciliation and another chance to live can't break in.
I thank Thomas Nelson for my review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.