Book Review: "Hear No Evil" by Matthew Paul Turner

If you’ve ever had the opening bars of a song transport you back in time or remind you of a pivotal spiritual moment, Matthew Paul Turner’s honest—and frequently hilarious—musings will strike a chord. Straightforward and amusing, Hear No Evil is Turner’s “life soundtrack,” a compilation of engaging personal stories about how music—and music’s ability to transform—has played a key role in his spiritual life.

Groove along on his journey as young evangelical Turner attends forbidden contemporary Christian concerts, moves to “Music City” Nashville, and dreams of becoming the Michael Jackson of Christian music.

Cosmic and compelling, keen and funny, every page is a new encounter with the people, places, and experiences that have taught the music-editor-turned-author some new things about God, forced him out of his comfort zone, and introduced him to a fresh view of grace along the way.

I don't normally read Christian non-fiction but I have been on a memoir kick lately and also I am a huge music fan. Therefore this book, a memoir about Christian music highly appealed to me. I really could relate to what Matthew went through in this book. I grew up in a rather conservative Southern Baptist church most of my life (I know...Asians in Southern Baptist?) We grew up listening to praise and worship songs in the car and Christian kids taps (anyone remember Psalty?). It wasn't that my parents were against listening to other types of music, we listened to oldies music. I just think they, as still newly immigrants to the country, didnt really know about popular music and wasn't really sure about CCM. Eventually my first taste of contemporary Christian music was a tape that featured Amy Grant. Soon we discovered Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith among others.

I really enjoyed Matthew's journey as he discovered CCM and the reactions by those who were both opposed and for it. Music is such a hot debate in the church and the extremes from both sides are enough to give anyone a headache. I also thought the debate about Amy Grant was highly interesting because it was such a huge "scandal" in the CCM world enough to spill over into the mainstream culture. The truth is we don't know the entire story behind what happened in that situation. Therefore no matter what we like to think happened and who's at fault, if Christians really are trying to practice what they preach, they have no right to judge Amy. That's all I'm saying. By the way, I just want to say I thought the opening chapter when Turner is able to tell that the guy is Christian rocker just by the way he looks was spot on hilarious. Seriously, I could not stop laughing. Why? Because it's SO TRUE.

I know that there are several people who didn't like the book and the flippant attitude the author had towards the church and other topics. So this book isn't for everyone. However, I REALLY enjoyed reading this book. I found it hilarious and could really relate to everything Turner went through. I honestly could not stop laughing while reading because I found almost everything said to be totally true. There are things about evangelical Christians that I don't agree with and they were pointed out in this book which made me happy to read. I say this because I'm tired of getting lumped in the same group all the time and it's good to hear that there are those out there who share my opinion. I'm no less of a Christian for thinking these things so the fact that there are others who are Christians who share my opinion makes me feel better. I think that those who grew up as music rebels in the strict Christian backgrounds will enjoy this book, as well as most music fans. Even if you aren't a Christian, I still think you'd enjoy this book as well. This is probably going to be one of the best memoirs I will read in 2010. HIGHLY recommended.

Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner is published by Waterbrook (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. Sounds like the perfect book for you! I actually think I might like it too since I'm a memoir junkie.

  2. oh this made me laugh! my favorite part was Asians in southern Baptist? <3

    AND YES TO PSALTY!!!!!! "Let's think happy thoughts...about...Jesus."
    "Happy Thoughts? About......Jesus?"
    "yes like how He loves us so much..."


  3. or how about:

    Ameeeeeen....Praise the Lord! Ameeeeeen.....Praise the Lord!
    Glory Hallelujah....praise the Lord.
    I'm gonna jump down, turn around, touch the ground, praise the Loooooord.

  4. Wow, that sounds like an awesome book... as I Christian musician myself, it sounds like it could be a hoot to read! :) I can also pick Christian Rockers out of a crowd... I remember Psalty, too. LOL


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