A debut memoir in poems, prose, and songs shows how Christianity helped one man navigate life.
Growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch region in the 1930s, Fox lived on a “mini-farm” with few modern conveniences. Throughout his childhood, he endured some moderate bullying from the neighborhood kids and strict teachers whose punishments could not exist today: on an instructor’s desk “rested a Ping-Pong paddle, which she used upon my seat of understanding.” But the biggest challenge coming from his formative years was a belief that he was not very intelligent. Despite this challenge, an appreciation for music and a deep passion for the Bible propelled him through high school and into a Bible college. Through several false starts and setbacks, Fox always trusted that his life was merely going according to God’s plan, and he eventually found a career as a high school English teacher and started a family with his wife, Joy. After the difficult years of raising their children, Fox discovered his original two passions coming back together with the offer to become the choir director for his church in 2009, giving him the opportunity to further share both Jesus and music with others. Scattered throughout the memoir are poems and original songs by the author that range from sweet to oddly literal: “A yellow jacket nest was located, where I sat. / They stung me all over-just like that. / My good parents, knew I was afraid, / And rapidly gave me first aid.” Aside from some intriguing tidbits on bygone ways of life in the ’30s and fascinating reflections on society’s changes, the memoir trudges from one standard life event to the next. Fox writes passionately and earnestly about his devotion and continued belief in Christianity, but most of his recollections are dull and leave the reader wondering why they were necessary to include at all, like the New York City trip when he was separated briefly from some friends: “A terrible fear occurred in my mind,” he writes. “What if they couldn’t find where we were located? Fortunately, that did not happen.” Unfortunately, poems and prose that report on common and uninteresting events drag the entire account down.
A sluggish book that presents a choir director’s history, career, and faith.