Humorously irreverent look at life as the eldest daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher whose philosophy, he once told her, “rests largely on the principle that all God’s glorious, perfect children are also dumb as dirt.”
That pious but realistic comment framed Hancock’s childhood attempts to understand the church people around her as well as her own special role as the PK (preacher’s kid) in 1980s Kentucky. Her experiences will ring true for anyone long involved in a church, as she sardonically tells of busybodies and holier-than-thou congregants while keeping the main focus on the sincere believers who were her true beacon, none more so than her parents and sister. A large portion of the memoir pokes fun at the silly and often maddening people found in any congregation, prompting many a good laugh. “Mrs. Pence” came to Hancock’s father to tattle on a nursery worker for having used “the F-word”; asked to spell the dreaded curse, her answer was “f-a-r-t.” All small-town churches have such humorous legends, which the author shares with great effect. But she goes deeper, delving into her own spiritual journey. As a child, she admits self-effacingly, she viewed herself as a prodigy and, with luck, “the world’s first Baptist saint.” Over time, her simple faith was challenged and deepened. During a bout with severe illness, while she endured a painful procedure, her father held her and hummed, not a hymn, but a Crosby, Stills, and Nash song. Her grandmother’s lengthy decline and death revealed both the hypocrisy of their neighbors and the pain her family could endure. Such experiences are the true crucible of anyone’s faith, and they certainly shaped Hancock. The reader comes away hoping that this rueful autobiographer will tap more of her memories in the future.
Expressive and thoroughly entertaining.