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Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life Hardcover – August 8, 2017
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About the Author
Jen Hatmaker is the author of the New York Times bestseller For the Love and happy hostess of a tightly knit online community where she reaches millions of people each week. She and her husband, Brandon, founded the Legacy Collective, a giving community that granted more than a million dollars in its first year. They also starred in the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV. Jen is a mom to five, a sought-after speaker, and a delighted resident of Austin, Texas, where she and her family are helping keep Austin weird. For more information, visit jenhatmaker.com.
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However, with that being said, I just couldn't let go of the book's description. I didn't want to like the author, or the book, but I really, REALLY wanted to read it.
And now with the book finished, I'm just so intensely glad I did. I'm so glad I took a chance. No, her life is absolutely nothing like mine, but every chapter ... every last one ... was filled with humor, honesty, and realism. Every chapter pulled me out of my world, and away from my pain, and they all made me think that everything is going to be ok. Life is messy for everyone, but it won't be that way forever. Reality hurts, but it can be faced and overcome. Nobody is perfect, and that's not only normal, but just fine.
As I read I felt less lonely. More loved. More understood. Based off a review I read on one of Mrs Hatmaker's previous books, I was skeptical that she'd be able to connect with me at all, but she did. The book is filled with uplifting humor, candid honesty, and messages about God and love. I'd recommend it to any woman, literally ANY one, in need of support, laughter, and sisterhood.
And, though I have never included lines from books before in reviews, I just can't help it here. Mrs Hatmaker's "How To" chapters were my absolute favorites, and this is an excerpt from her instructions on "How to Get Uninvited Back to a Home Decor Store"
3) Hear gasp from a bystander, and look up to see your son's bare behind and a hearty stream of urine trailing from the cart into a $48 decorative basket. You don't understand why he had to drop his underpants to his ankles, but in addition to soiling the home goods, he has now displayed his bits and bobbles for all to witness.
4) Panic as you realize step 1.
5) Watch the tee-tee run down the shelving unit and soak the towels below before pooling in a delightful puddle at the end of isle 7.
6) Calculate your expenditures to around ninety-five dollars of urine-soaked home items that now belong to you.
7) Congratulations. You can now show back up to this store in five years.
Take a chance on this book. It warmed my heart, and lifted my soul, and I think it can do the same for others.
Unfortunately, the content of the book did not match her statement. This book was supposedly written for every woman, but about 90% of it was geared toward mothers. Much of the content made me feel like it was assumed that the reader would be a mom. This was disappointing and only served to make me feel less included. I realize that Jen is a mom and I’m sure that much of her life story revolves around her kids, but don’t set up a book to be for “every woman” if it’s not. Just saying it is, doesn’t make it so.
I also was unclear as to the whole point of the book. There was some humor and a few relatable things scattered throughout it, but mostly it seemed like a random, eclectic set of thoughts on parenting.
It really saddens me because even toward the end of the book, Jen talks about being aware of who is around you and realizing that not everyone is in the same place in life. She talks about women whose stories are outside the lines and she acknowledges that sensitivity to that is needed, but yet her book doesn’t live up to her words. While on this subject, she makes the statement “It means considering the stories around the table before launching into an assumed shared narrative.” I absolutely love the idea of this, but if her readers are those seated around the table, she surely is not considering their stories before launching into an assumed shared narrative.
I wanted to appreciate her acknowledgement and consideration so much, but how could I when the whole book is about being a mom?
Those of us women who live lives that are outside the lines, don’t need anymore reminders that we don’t fit in. The infertile certainly don’t need to hear sections on “How to plan a family” in which she jokes about her husband glancing at her, and becoming pregnant.
It’s not that I expect her to not want to write about her experience in parenting, but acknowledge that your target audience is moms. Not. Every. Woman.
One last major issue I have with this book is the theology of it. Jen makes comments that seems rather flippant and disrespectful toward Jesus. She also embraces sinful lifestyles in the name of inclusion and love. While we are certainly called to love, we are not called to ignore sin or embrace it.
One last thing I loved was near the end. She encourages her readers to fangirl their friends. Cheer and support them and be their biggest fans. I love that thought and wholly believe that we should be supporting each other and cheering each other on.
It makes me sad that this book had such an opportunity to really speak to every woman, but it sadly just fell so short. The idea of making sure all women felt included and being considerate of who is around you, is an awesome, awesome thing and I absolutely believe it should be more recognized that not all women “fit the mold” Unfortunately, I finished the book feeling more glaringly left out than before.
*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.