Tuesday, April 9, 2013

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

I felt scared to read this book. I heard about it while reading Robin Ann Fabros's blog, and it sounded a bit too challenging so I delayed my reading of it.

I wish I hadn't delayed!

Jen Hatmaker was confronted with her family's excessive lifestyle when a ten-year-old boy, an evacuee from Hurricane Ike who was going to temporarily live with them, walked into her house and exclaimed, "Dad! This white dude it RICH!"

Hatmaker takes seven months to confront seven areas of excess: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, and Stress. For instance, during the Food month, she only eats seven foods (chicken, eggs, whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados, and apples). During the Possessions month, she gives away seven items a day for a month. The book reads like a blog/memoir detailing the days of each month, the struggles, the lessons learned, and the blessings.

What I liked about this book:
There's no shaming. Hatmaker really just shares her own experience. There's no pressure for you to do exactly what she did. She doesn't list bullet point ideas of ways for you to take action. 

I did think of ways to curb my own excess like making sure things in our fridge didn't go to waste. Also, I was determined to buy a couple more spring like blouses for my work wardrobe, but I decided to go shopping in my own closet to see what I had. I found several outfits that I had not even worn yet. I also wanted to go to a rummage sale this morning, but thought twice about whether or not I wanted to buy more and bring more things into my house. I decided to not go this time.

This book made me more mindful and thoughtful about my lifestyle and what I'm valuing.

What I didn't like about this book: 
There's an over-the-top look-at-me-I'm-so-quirky-and funny aspect of the book which gets grating at times. In general, Hatmaker comes off as a pretty grounded person who would be easy to talk to, but the frequency of the irreverent hahaha I'm-so-weird comments distracted from the content and point of the book.

Overall, I really liked this book. I'm thinking of people that I can give it to. It is challenging to think about how we find our happiness and how we distract ourselves with things and food, TV, and Facebook, and what would happen if those things were more restricted.

Caution: This is a book from a Christian perspective which might not sit well with some of you out there.

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