TAMMY by Tammy Faye Messner


Telling It My Way
Email this review


 Excruciating drivel from the ex-wife of fallen televangelist Jim Bakker. Nearly a decade after PTL's collapse and her first husband's incarceration, the unsinkable Tammy Faye has resurfaced with her own talk show, a second marriage, and a wig business. This autobiography is part of her return to the public eye, an attempt to explain her marriages, her ministry, and her mascara (after a fundamentalist childhood in which cosmetics were forbidden, Tammy Faye discovered at age 17 that ``what I lacked in breasts I more than made up for in eyelashes''). What results from these self-revelations is an often skewed version of reality. She denies that she ever enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle at Heritage USA (the purported air-conditioner in the doghouse was really just a heating unit) and rejects any notion of financial wrongdoing on Bakker's part. She sees his downfall as the result of a conspiracy led by Jerry Falwell and suggests that high members of the Reagan administration, such as Ed Meese, assisted in the plot. Although even Falwell's supporters would not claim him to be above reproach, many of Tammy Faye's accusations are simply unsupportable. And her narrative has clearly benefited from hindsight. Repeatedly, she describes herself as intuitively mistrusting Falwell and others, but claims that Jim never listened to her advice and that his poor decisions led them to ruin. Her version of the PTL scandal is certainly the most salacious part of the book, which at other times is riddled with aphorisms like ``Faith is spelled R-I-S-K'' and ``God wants us to prosper.'' Jessica Hahn is regarded as a seductive tart who deserves all blame, and Tammy Faye expresses wonder that anyone would consider Hahn attractive, since ``she didn't even have boobs.'' Only diehard PTL followers will have sufficient faith to waste their money on this. (Jim Bakker is also publishing a memoir; see p. 1392.) (Author tour; satellite TV tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-44515-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996


NonfictionPTL by John  Wigger
by John Wigger