Blogging for Books, Culture, Faith

Book Review: Out of a Far Country (and a giveaway)

I recently read Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan.  It is an inspiring, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and remarkable memoir of a son’s struggle with homosexuality and a mother’s transformation from unyielding to a place of surrender.  Out of a Far Country is a modern, culturally relevant story of a prodigal son who finds his way through brokenness to his Savior.  It is a story both controversial and pregnant with the hope and all consuming love God has for us.

Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered in his teen years that he was attracted to other boys.  His very controlling mother, upon her son’s announcement as an adult that he was a homosexual and her subsequent rejection of him, felt her world was falling apart.   Her loss of how to relate to her son combined with her own issues led her to try to opt out of her pain by planning to commit suicide.

Before she can carry out her plan, however, the woman who had always been an avid atheist comes to Christ.  Her desperation is replaced with hope, and as she realizes the terrible way she responded to her Christopher, one of the first things she does is reach out to her son and let him know that she loves him.

The book is written from the alternating viewpoints of both mother and son.  It follows Christopher as he becomes a fixture in the gay community, as he falls heavily into drug addiction and dealing, and ultimately, into prison.  It follows his mother’s growing determination to love him and to learn how to be there for him despite their differences, as well as her move away from self-righteousness to her ardent desire to care for her son no matter what.  Their story is a story of the power of Christ’s love to transform and to heal.

Out of a Far Country also documents both the terrible job the faith community has done in reaching out and dialoguing with the homosexual community as well as providing examples of those who have gotten it right.  The examples of those that got it right left me with tears of gratitude in seeing how they reached out in love.  The examples of those who lashed out in hate left me in tears as well; they made me long for God to work on their hearts so that they could respond in a manner that reflects Christ rather than misrepresenting Him to the world.

Christopher describes, at the end, his view of holy sexuality, describing how he didn’t suddenly become a heterosexual, nor is he likely to.  He didn’t know how to answer the question of who he was apart from his sexuality.  Christopher states, “My identity was not “gay” or “homosexual,” or even “heterosexual,” for that matter.  But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.”  Therefore, he determines that he must choose God over his desires, thus pursuing a holy sexuality.  It is one thing we all, homosexual and heterosexual alike, are called to do.

I received this book as part of WaterBrook’s Blogging for Books program, and they happened to send me two copies by mistake.  I would love to give one away so if you are interested, leave me a comment.  I’ll ask my daughter to randomly pick a number and will send it your way if you win!

*Forgot to add that the giveaway will end Sunday evening (August 14) at 8pm EST. And comments left on Facebook (it posts there as well) also count towards the giveaway.

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.