I am not the target reader for this book.
I bought it a year ago on the recommendation of two friends, and I still haven’t finished it. I’m not going to: I picked it up again, and I simply don’t get the appeal. The writing is too esoteric, too literary for my taste, as though it's focusing on beautiful words at the expense of being understood. Some sentences I read and reread and still don’t know what they say.
I love the concept: Count your blessings (literally). Be thankful. Show gratitude. Live in joy. Live in communion with God. Live fully right where you are. But that, for me, should be simple. And One Thousand Gifts is anything but, as I continually find the language getting in the way of the message.
It has over a thousand five-star reviews on Amazon, but my opinion is firmly aligned with the 10% minority who give it one or two stars. Two stars on Amazon means “I didn’t like it”; one star means “I hated it”. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hated it. As I said, I like the idea. My issue is with the execution, as one sentence that is simply beautiful is followed by one that might as well be written in another language. But I didn’t like it (which will still mean just one star on Goodreads, which has a different rating system).
Ironically, the one and two-star reviews show up as “Most Helpful” on the Amazon page, with thousands of “helpful” votes between the top three reviews. Perhaps this suggests just as many people dislike this book as love it, but as good Christians they follow the Bambi rule and don’t wish to write a critical review. I can see their point. I’m writing this review, but I won’t be posting it on Amazon.
Writing, to me, is about reading. It’s about expressing an idea in words your reader can understand, appreciate, apply. One Thousand Gifts has obviously spoken to thousands, perhaps millions, of women, but I’m not one of them. I just don’t get it. I don’t get the language, and I don’t get the appeal.
One Thousand Gifts counts towards my 2015 Reading Challenge as a book with a number in the title.
I tried to read it a couple of years ago. I agree with your wrap.up completely. It was very hard work and I was relieved to stop.ReplyDelete
I don't like not finishing books - especially books I've paid for. But I also don't want to turn reading into a chore, and this book was a chore.Delete
Perhaps if more people did write less-than-glowing reviews, we wouldn't have got stuck on this!
My daughter loves this book. She keeps telling me I just have to read it. But I am not a big fan of this type of book as it its. Several of my friends have done the accompanying Bible study, and one brought the video series to the transitional women's center where we volunteer. She stated that the video is basically a restating of the book. I found it very lyrical, but alas, not very accessible for the women we serve. Their glazed expressions (as well as mine) said it all. We abandoned the series after a few viewings.ReplyDelete
I am glad that this book has touched so many women, but I am with you Iola, it is just not for me. Glad I can stop feeling like a heather for saying so! ;)
You're the second person this week I've had comment that the not-yet-Christian women they work with can't relate to most books from "traditional" Christian publishing. There must be a message there ...Delete
Okay that is heathen, not heather!ReplyDelete
Isn't auto-mistake great?Delete
I haven't read it yet. Was put off by some of the reviews that talked about the writing being over-the-top. I did start following her on Facebook, but I have trouble with her writing style there for possibly another reason ... it's not over-the-top, it's almost stream-of-consciousness. She starts out with an ellipsis and often something like, "...know what, soul?" and off she goes on something I can't quite figure out. Like you, I love the concept. But her style is just not my cup of tea.ReplyDelete
Thanks Iola. I was thinking about borrowing this from the library because of other revews, but won't be now! Fairly sure I'm also not going to be the target audience for this book.ReplyDelete