PEOPLE
SON OF A PREACHER MAN
by Jay Bakker with Linden Gross
February 19, 2001
Reviewed by Dan Jewel


231X-027-008
“In truth, my dad was my ultimate role model,” says Jay Bakker (in Atlanta in ‘99)

Televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (now Messner), 61 and 58 respectively, have generally been portrayed in the media as stick‑figure jokes or villains. In this memoir their son Jay, 25 ‑a pastor whose own ministry, Revolution, targets what he calls "punks, skaters and hippies"‑ attempts to rehabilitate his parents' image. He proclaims Jim innocent of his 1989 fraud conviction, blames others ‑Jerry Falwell, in particular‑ for his parents' ruination and repeatedly describes his father's dalliance with Jessica Hahn as "a fifteen‑minute affair," as if that excuses it. Even worse are Bakker's cliché‑ridden takes on his bout with alcoholism and his spiritual struggles. "I could have given up," he writes of one religious crisis, "but Jesus found me." Well, that was convenient. (Harper San Francisco, $23)

Bottom Line: An unholy mess

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