Meet Patty Gee – Pentecostal teen living with her grandmother and widowed father. Patty finds happiness in her religion that keeps her close to her father, her recently deceased mother, and God. Her perspective is clear. It has to be if she’s going to survive freshman year in a new urban school. After violent incident that leaves her beaten, she meets Miggy Perez – Dominican Buddhist punk who takes pictures off dog poop on the sidewalk. Yes, Miggy is weird. But Patty feels God sent Miggy to her for a reason. Plus, she’s one of the first people in school who doesn’t call her a Jesus Freak. Patty’s father doesn’t approve of Miggy. He believes she was sent by the Devil. He may be right. Especially when Patty feels her life spinning out of control. Then something happens that truly blows her world apart. Miggy was not sent by God or the Devil – but from someone unexpected.
On the surface, this is one weird book: a very devout Protestant teen and her way-too-religious father live with her open-minded Catholic grandmother. After Patty is beaten up for looking at the wrong boy, she is befriended by Miggy, who is the total opposite of everything Patty has ever been taught is right. But Patty is determined to “save” Miggy from herself and the life she’s chosen. Throw in a few more colorful characters and you’ve got a pretty good book.
Purfield gives us a peek inside Patty’s church by taking us there for a Sunday-morning service. I grew up in a charismatic church, so reading the description of Patty’s fellow worshipers felt like old-home week to me. To some, it may seem over the top. I’m honestly not sure if the author was going for two extremes in his heroines or if he was trying to show that Patty was too into her “Jesus thing”. I think it was the former, because I didn’t really feel as if Patty was shown in a bad light. Again, my own background may be coloring my opinion there.
This book just screams, “Love, don’t judge!” But not in a way that will make you turn and run away. Throughout the story, Patty learns that you have to look into someone’s heart to truly know who they are and that love and friendship can come from unexpected places.
This is a fairly quick read because of the way it’s written. It is a story about a group of teens in an inner-city school, so there is a lot of interesting vocabulary, but the story is well-written, and the book has a great message. Read this one, then pass it on to your teen.
About the book
Title: jesus freakz + buddha punx
Author: M.E. Purfield
Release date: May 9, 2011
Where I got the book: I won this book on Goodreads