On New Year’s Eve 1999, 12-year-old Casey Gerald gathers with family and friends as they wait for the world to end and for God to usher in a new world with Jesus’ return. As midnight passes and the world remains unchanged, Gerald slowly recognizes the yawning gap between the illusory “truths” he’s been told and the facts of this world. In his compulsively readable memoir, There Will Be No Miracles Here, Gerald writes about coming into the light of reality in a world filled with deceit and loss, love and hope.
Growing up just outside Dallas, Texas, Gerald moves from one disappointment to another, struggling to make sense of his world and his family. His father, once a great football player, is an “inconvenience” of a father. After his mother disappears from his life with no explanation, Gerald and his sister live off their mother’s disability checks in a small apartment. A gifted athlete, Gerald achieves stardom as a high school football player and then wins a football scholarship to Yale, where he excels not only on the field but also in the classroom. During his years at Yale, he continues to struggle with the complexities of his identity as a gay black man, and he has difficulty envisioning a future for himself. Before the financial collapse of 2008, Gerald works on Wall Street, where he sees the fraud underlying the financial institutions’ operations. In the final and most compelling chapter of the book, Gerald riffs on the major moments of his life, sharing his current vision of working for free with local citizens on behalf of the common good.
Gerald’s staccato prose and peripatetic storytelling combine the cadences of the Bible with an urgency reminiscent of James Baldwin in this powerfully emotional memoir.
This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.