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There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir

Review

There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir

Casey Gerald, the author of this magical mystical tour, is a Yale grad, football star and business maven who was raised in poverty. In his 30s, he is still defining himself by a standard that includes equal parts angst, irony and glimmers of hope.

Casey’s father was a football star back in the day when black college players were a rarity. He was also absent for much of his son’s adolescence, reappearing as a reformed addict whose redemption was sufficient to earn him a role as an evangelical preacher. Casey’s mother also disappeared, her reasons never fully defined and her reemergence in his life fraught with misunderstanding. A sister was an example and a mainstay for the young man grappling with big issues. The family lived in public housing in a black section of Dallas, yet Casey somehow got the impression that being black in the US was a positive. It wasn’t until his college years that he began to understand that being black might mean having “so little money in our bank accounts, so little food on our tables, so few books in our classrooms…”

"Casey’s professors at Yale were certainly correct: the man can write. His stream-of-consciousness tell-all style captures the reader from the opening segment... He can make almost any subject simultaneously painfully hilarious and wistfully sad..."

In a series of remarkable coincidences, the boy who played football in the projects was drafted to play football for Yale, where he found out that he could write. By that time, he also had realized that he was gay, giving him yet another barrier to push back at. In the later stage of his college career, he became a campus leader of his African American cohort and was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. Free from the restraints of education for a while, he drifted, but got back into the swim with an MBA from Harvard; helped found MBAs Across America, aimed at helping people in the hinterlands make it as entrepreneurs; and then took a sabbatical from everything else to write this hugely fascinating autobiography.

Casey’s professors at Yale were certainly correct: the man can write. His stream-of-consciousness tell-all style captures the reader from the opening segment in which he explains the book’s title (no spoilers here). He can make almost any subject simultaneously painfully hilarious and wistfully sad, as so much of his life has encompassed that paradox. He confesses that when asked, as part of his interview for a Rhodes scholarship, what book he had most recently read, at that point he had never actually completely read any single book, though he did delve into such diverse tomes as BLACK LIKE ME and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. In speaking of his highly dysfunctional family, Casey depicts their interactions as something like “a blaxploitation Fellini movie.” Yet his spiritual side is quietly evident at times. There is one family member, a cherished niece, who he refuses to sully with his sorrow or his sarcasm, because “I like that baby.”

This is a life in progress, one senses, rather than a mere memoir. The reader undoubtedly will feel that, as much as Casey Gerald can and will retreat into his mental world again and again, he is also destined and determined to do good things and take justifiable pride in their accomplishment.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on October 5, 2018

There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir
by Casey Gerald

  • Publication Date: October 2, 2018
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • ISBN-10: 0735214204
  • ISBN-13: 9780735214200