By some strange alignment of the stars, the music of my father’s youth was also the music of my own youth, and when I saw Ken Mansfield’s book Between Wyomings, I thought it might have some resonance with me — after all, he worked with the likes of the Beatles, Waylon Jennings and James Taylor, and he partied with members of Buffalo Springfield and Willie Nelson.

The book follows Mansfield on a literal and metaphorical journey across the country and through his memories of show business. It chronicles his spiritual highs, lows and eventual conversion to Christianity, and — unlike many Christian memoirs — doesn’t get preachy about his life pre-conversion. (He is fairly critical of his time as a New Ager, but most of his commentary about his pre-Christian life can be summed up in his statement at the end of the chapter about novelty-album screecher Mrs. Miller: “When I get to heaven, I will apologize.”) By the end of the book, Mansfield — who is 10 years into incurable cancer — deals with some personal baggage, but — even though he is a decent enough writer — the reader never really feels a connection with him. 

The book has its interesting moments, but it has some serious flaws. It (annoyingly) jumps from present-tense-first-person to past-tense depending on the narrative, and the passages on spirituality can for at times be church sign cheesy. Perhaps the biggest problem with the book is that, while it deals with memorable characters, it is not memorable itself.

(Thomas Nelson Publishers provided a review copy of this book.)

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