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The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  766 ratings  ·  131 reviews
When you hear the phrase pop culture, you likely think reality television, boy bands or Real Housewives of various cities. While these are elements of popular culture, they aren’t all it has to offer. Pop culture may not cure diseases, topple political regimes, or make scientific breakthroughs, but it does play a vital role in the story of humanity.

In fact, it’s pretty har
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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Emily Gardner
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Thanks to W Publishing and NetGalley for an early look at a book I've pre-ordered!

In an effort to explain to my inquisitive four-year-old why saying "God is light" doesn't mean God is, in fact, the moon, I put my English degree to good use describing how metaphors use ideas we already understand to illuminate more complicated concepts.

That's exactly what Knox McCoy does in The Wondering Years. In a voice that is humorous, heartwarming, and perceptive, Knox shares pop culture anecdotes and analo
Laura Tremaine
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed these essays from my friend and fellow podcaster Knox McCoy. I laughed out loud throughout.
Kate Mcpherson
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uh, 10,000 points to Gryffindor because this book is amazing. It's like if Lorelai Gilmore wandering into your living room and started waxing theologic. I have never met Knox, but I'm pretty sure we would be best friends based on the sheer pop culture references that made me laugh. And the section where he talks about converting dogs to Christianity after seeing All Dogs Go To Heaven? Literally on the floor laughing (and yes, I know what literally means). Must read.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Knox McCoy must be about the same age as I am, because we have almost all the same pop-culture touchstones (minus, for me, most of the sports references) although I have not kept up with his pace of pop-culture consumption. He grew up in the South so his early faith framework is familiar but certainly more rigid than what I grew up with. Nonetheless, I related strongly to his childhood perspectives. This book definitely made me laugh out loud (That dog-conversion chapter? Golden) and there were ...more
Kaytee Cobb
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Plenty of fun and laughs and cunning observations. Audiobook is totally the way to go. Had a great time listening to this on a road trip with my adult sibling and parents. We all found something to laugh at.
Aimee Kollmansberger
Fun + entertaining read but the essays were a bit disjointed for me. I would read several and then wonder what did I just read? The consistent footnotes are one of the humor highlights, and the last chapter is more of what I wish the whole book had been. It was in that chapter where I felt a true connection + real relatability to the author. That’s where he found his stride.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I could give this book one adjective it would “relatable.”

As a Southern Baptist born and raised, introvert by nature, and INTJ/Enneagram 5, I found many elements of this book to be 1) hilarious and 2) reflective of my own experiences.

I spent my childhood and adolescence on mission trips, at VBS weeks, attending Teamkid and youth group, and going to church camp (often twice) every summer. My faith life was very easy until it wasn’t, and in college when I started to experience moments of doub
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Cards on the table, I'm a fan of Knox McCoy as a blogger and a podcaster and I think that he and I would get along just swimmingly if ever we were to meet. But I'm not a huge fan of this book, a mishmash of pop culture references, Southern dude memoirs, and ankle-deep evangelical Christian philosophy that doesn't seem to serve any apparent purpose beyond scratching Knox McCoy's itch to publish something in paperback form. There are some fun observations and connections here, and that's probably ...more
Jill Robinson
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
At first I was less than impressed. After all, I am a huge Popcast fan and it almost felt like Knox was just throwing around a ton of words and not saying much of anything. But the more I got into it, the deeper it got and Knox’s transparency is greatly appreciated. He admits what we all know about ourselves—we don’t have it all together. But God is so much bigger than that. Well done Knox!
PS: you can definitely tell this was written by an enneagram 5!
Tyler Mills
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of pop culture, fans of laughter, fans of the word 'swashbuckling'

After finishing this book, I had to step back and assess whether Knox McCoy and I are actually the same person. Was my life the plot of Mr. Robot, just with (slightly) less existential dread and more teen TV dramas? While I may never know if I've actually been a popular podcaster and talented writer my entire life, I do know that this book is simultaneously the most entertaining and thought provoking piece of literature I've read in a long time.

The Wondering Years is a refreshingly vulnerable

Carmen Marie
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
What's my green light this week? The Wondering Years!

As a long time listener of the Popcast with Knox and Jamie, I was eager to read Knox's book, The Wondering Years. I was not disappointed by his memoir. He's equal parts humorous and introspective. The Wondering Years is about the intersection of faith and pop culture. Knox grew up Evangelical in the South. He makes a compelling case about how his touchstones for pop culture taught him nuance somehow filling in the gaps in his faith formation.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Listened on audio, and I literally laughed until I cried in some parts! It was all so tragically relatable, especially in regards to kids church in the 90s. I shared parts with my 12 year old son, such as Knox's commentary between his mom and God about Abraham and Isaac, and so many other parts that had us in hysterics. It was heartfelt, honest, fun, and pushed the envelope for Christian books in such an important way! Great job, Knox! (Although I do feel that I could school you on the dinosaurs ...more
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
Pop Sugar Challenge: Read a book with the word "Pop" in the title

I am a big fan of the author's podcast The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. This is a bit of a spiritual memoir with a lot of humor and pop culture. I really enjoyed it. I loved the snarkiness of many aspects of Evangelical culture and appreciated how different things in popular culture helped Knox grasp the "big picture ideas" in Christianity. This felt like grabbing coffee with a friend.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I laughed out loud repeatedly. I think what made it extra funny to me was, as an avid listener of The Popcast, I read the whole book in Knox’s voice. I especially loved the footnotes where he inserted his snarky comments like he would in the podcast as well.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, truth
"More than anything, God spoke to my heart and revealed that he really was fine with questions. Because at the end of the day, he knows that the answers to all the questions I’m wondering about, and have been wondering about for all these years, they’ve always led back to him. So why wouldn’t they still?"
I wanted to give this a higher rating but I just didn't love it. I appreciate McCoy's vulnerability throughout; however, a lot of the pop culture correlations just fell flat. The connection wasn
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A memoir laced with sarcastic pop culture references, what more could you want?
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The humor in these essays is top notch, but the message was not always clear. I would get to the end of a chapter and think ... wait, what?

But still, very funny. I would recommend this one for sure!
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book made me laugh out loud a lot of times. I listened to it and the author reads it and his voice and inflections were especially fantastic. I was listening to it on headphones while vacuuming the inside of my car at one point, just freaking DY-ing laughing. Good times.

I found his ponderings on Christianity really interesting. So much of his Evangelical church upbringing felt very similar to my Mormon upbringing, and it was fun to compare. His teenage missionary attempts were so good/bad/
Zachary Houle
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
There has always been a book waiting to be written about God and pop culture. After all, there are areas where the sacred overlaps with the secular. Personally, I’ve always felt that if I had more of a brain for processing what pop culture means in the area of faith, I’d write a book that would at least partially answer how Kendrick Lamar can write a song about being a sinner and knowing that he’s going to sin again before asking not only for God to forgive him, but for his bitch to not get in t ...more
Marci-Beth Maple
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Knox McCoy and his podcast partner, Jamie, so I was inclined to enjoy this book and I was not disappointed. I found his writing structure creative, his spiritual insights authentic and honest, and there wasn't a single essay I would have left out. If you are a fan of pop culture and a fan of Jesus, this will be a treat of a read.
Amanda Taddey
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a book can make you laugh out loud and think deeply on the same page, you know it’s a winner. Knox shares insights into how pop culture has helped to shift his views on faith and God. He doesn’t have all the answers and neither should we. His vulnerability is inspiring and hilarious at the same time. FIVE STARS FOREVER!
Teresa Staton
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Honest, spiritual memoirs are one of my favorite genres, and in that light, this is an honest, spiritual memoir. McCoy grew up in a Southern Baptist church, and as he got older, he began to question some of the practices he was taught. His questioning seems to be the premise of this book, and he uses pop-culture analogies to explain his reasoning. This book had several laugh-out-loud funnies, and I appreciate his willingness to write about his faith questions. Some of the analogies carried on a ...more
Rachel Dawson
I was curious about this one,but honestly... I am not “pop-cultures” enough to truly appreciate the art of this one. I was pretty sheltered as a kid and was a 90s baby so most of his references and stories and analogies went straight over my head sadly. That’s not to say this wasn’t well written, funny, or worth reading— it just wasn’t one I personally could connect with! If you’re a movie buff or a little older than I am or you looooove all things pop culture and find them interesting points of ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed Knox' sense of humor and story-telling abilities for several years now on his podcast. To finally have that personality in book form is more than a delight. I enjoyed this book so much and appreciated the way a chapter could go from real life humor to deep thoughts about Christianity without ever missing a beat. Worth a read. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher*
Nicole Burrell
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, memoirs
I laughed. I cried. I did all the things, then I came back for more.

Knox McCoy’s “The Wondering Years” is a candid look at his life and faith, told by way of a series of entertaining anecdotes and cultural references galore. It is -a rare thing- a book that will make you think about your own relationship with God while not boring you at all. A book that sounds and feels personal, like a friend talking to you in a coffee shop...talking to you, not at you. Big difference.

Every kid who grew up in c
Lori Lynn
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried, can’t wait to share with others. ❤📺📚🎧💻 ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Can you love Jesus and enjoy pop culture? Have you struggled with your faith? Are you tired of the “Christian” books that talk about how great you are and leave out God? Then this book is for you. Knox McCoy’s debut takes you on a journey with him and how he navigated his faith. Sometimes through the lens of pop culture. His real look at faith and deep introspection laced with wit and intellectual analysis makes you comfortable to talk about that topic many avoid. As co-host of The Popcast and T ...more
If you're a fan of Popcast (On Wednesdays, we Popcast!), you will definitely enjoy The Wondering Years. I could hear McCoy's voice throughout the book, although more so in the beginning. As entertaining and light as the first half of the book was, what I really appreciated was when he became more serious and talked about the evolution of his faith and the doubts and struggles he went through. I look forward to reading more from him!
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book hits so close to home you respond by rereading lines in disbelief that someone must have shared your teenage journals or by snorting coffee out of your nose from shock laughter.
Britani Overman
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Yes, you can binge Netflix and love God!"

The Wondering Years is a conversation with your best friend you didn't know you were desperately longing to have! Knox McCoy perfectly illustrates how pop culture and Christianity can coexist and it's okay to enjoy both. This book will say everything you're thinking but won't say out loud because you'll probably be dammed to hell by those listening. He perfectly sums up issues with organized religion by still being respectful. And somehow, Knox can be hi
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