Book Review: Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me Into the Life of My Dreams

Click for a larger image of Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me Into the Life of My Dreams

by Yvonne Orji

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $26.00
    Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
    Classification: Nonfiction
    ISBN13: 9781546012672
    Imprint: Worthy Books
    Publisher: Hachette Book Group
    Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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    Book Reviewed by Carol Taylor

    Part self-help, part comedic memoir, part inspirational and motivational how-to, Yvonne Orji’s Bamboozled by Jesus is heartfelt and relatable advice that is equally, personal, biblical, aspirational, and grounded.

    Orji draws on her Nigerian heritage and personal experience in her stand-up comedy special Momma, I Made It! She is also an inspirational speaker with a popular TEDx Talk, and the actress Molly Carter from Insecure. Orji can now add author to her list of hyphens. In Bamboozled by Jesus, she draws on her experiences of being bamboozled by Jesus, using stories from her life and her relationship with God. These anecdotes are filled with wisdom and humor, and her stories about hope, relationships, family, love and faith (both in oneself and in a higher power) are relatable and inspiring.

    Part of Orji’s message, is that anyone one can be a change maker, no matter who you are, your past, or even if you think you don’t matter; you can not only create change, but like her, you can live the life of your dreams. In the opening pages of the book Orji writes a short letter to her reader:

    Hey Boo,

    Yes, you! … You’re gonna be a change agent in your community. The one to break generational curses in your family and alter the legacy of your lineage. God has called, equipped, and empowered you to be you—exactly as you are. Think about it: The mother of the Savior was an unwed teenage girl. The second-in-command over Egypt was a former slave. The woman who saved her family from death and destruction was a prostitute. One of the greatest warriors in history was a forgotten shepherd boy. So why can’t YOU do dope things? You can! That’s the point. Even without the “right” connections, you’re fine. Even though your funds are low, you’ll make it. Even when your hope is fading, pick it back up, boo. It gets darkest before it gets the brightest. So don’t give up. Scratch that, I won’t let you give up. The world is waiting on your supply. Get to it, fam!

    Throughout, Orji uses stories from her life, her family, her relationships, as well as biblical passages and motivating principles, to explain what being bamboozled by Jesus means. Her voice is warm, sisterly, and down-to-earth. Divided into five parts: The Burden, The Building, The Breakthrough, The Booked, Blessed, and Busy, and The Bonus, each part takes the reader through her journey from acceptance to success. Ultimately, her message is that there is a plan for us that is greater than we can see, or even conceive, which she defines, and exemplifies, as being bamboozled, albeit by Jesus. The book opens with a description of her first bamboozlement.

    “I was born holding my mom’s IUD (intrauterine device) in my hand.

    True story.

    After three sons, my parents decided that their baby-making days were over. Clearly God was like, ‘nah.’ And nine months later, I defiantly bust outta the womb clutching the very device meant to prevent my conception.

    That was my first taste of being bamboozled by Jesus….

    But ain’t that just like God, tho? He’s out here being the Sovereign Trickster in our lives, acting like the Ancient-of-Days Ashton Kutcher; running ’round town getting folks Punk’d. Personally, I’ve fall for the bamboozlement of Jesus several times.”

    Orji describes how she’d had plans for her life only to be bamboozled by Jesus into something far greater. For instance: she’d imagined living it up as a college freshman, instead that turned into: “Attend a Bible study freshman year, commit my life to Jesus, and remain a virgin until I get married.” We then fast forward to her TEDx Talk entitled “The Wait is Sexy” inspired by that experience. After graduation she intended to go to medical school, “the pinnacle of success for every Nigerian child.” Instead Orji heard “Him” tell her to perform stand-up comedy. We fast forward to her comedy special Momma, I Made It! According to Orji her life is, “one big walking billboard of how God tricked me into living out my wildest dreams.”

    Orji wants us to see this bamboozlement as a miracle in disguise and she uses biblical stories throughout to illustrate it. “Bamboozling people into a life they never could’ve imagined for themselves is kind of Jesus’ m.o. All throughout the bible he’s suckered several unsuspecting targets into a life full of prestige and promise.”

    She recounts her journey from starting out in the business at 25 to becoming an Emmy-nominated actress. Bamboozled by Jesus alternates between wit and wisdom andis filled with inspirational messages and illuminating anecdotes, illustrated by biblical passages and principles. Orji wants us to embrace the twists and turns of life, choosing paths we may not have considered for ourselves, because they may come from a higher power, with a greater promise.

    “You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or devout evangelical to benefit from the pages in this book. I didn’t go to anybody’s seminary, nor am I an ordained anything. I’m just a young Black chick who entered into a beautiful relationship with a God I’ve never met, but who chose to love me in unimaginable ways. So if you don’t subscribe to the whole ‘Christianity’ thing, that’s cool. Get in where you fit in. Personally, my faith impacts my success and my life in general, so it’s hard for me to separate the two. ”

    Whether you are devout, agnostic, or an atheist, Orji’s message is as a reminder that when you walk in faith—whether in family, in yourself, in your loved ones, in the people who help to hold you up, or a higher power—you never walk alone. And if you believe, in yourself, while knowing there is something greater than yourself (whatever you chose to call it), you can achieve amazing things.

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