Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review- Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson

You should read this book. 


It's good. Really good. And if you know me, I don't give short answers...so if you don't want to know why I think this book is really good, x out, and go to this link to buy Becky's book :)  

I actually wanted to purchase this book after reading the intro that Amazon makes available. I had read a little blurb Becky had written on Proverbs31 ministries, and I followed the link. After reading only a few paragraphs, "it" happened. "It" is when my heart starts beating a little faster, I lean forward and begin nodding my head in agreement, and I allow my children to watch yet another episode of Wild Kratts. I knew that I was going to get this book.

Becky, who cordially refers to the reader as "friend" does a great job at shining light on the more troubling (yet least talked about) questions of motherhood. 

"Am I doing this right?"

"Am I messing up my kids?"

"Where are you God in all of this?"

"I'm not like that mom... I'm a failure..."

 She does a great job of spending a little time in the beginning of each chapter fleshing out the bad and the ugly. But she does not encourage self pity and complaining. Instead, she gracefully transitions into who God says we are and how to use it as a weapon against the enemy. She concludes each chapter with 3 subtitles: Let's talk, let's pray, let's hope.

"Let's Talk" Becky invites us into vulnerability with God, asking questions to draw out the pain and disappointment we may be in.

"Let's Pray" Becky leads us into prayer, declaring who God is, and who we are.

"Let's Hope" Becky has scripted a short declarative of how we are going to see things "God did not abandon me"

The style of writing in this book is not only easy to read, but she does a great job of making the reader feel like they actually really might be having coffee in her living room. Becky is vulnerable in sharing motherhood moments that we have all had, but don't like to share with others. I personally think that motherhood has never been more difficult than in this time period. The social boundaries of what motherhood have been erased, creating endless options for mothers to choose. Work or stay at home? Nurse or formula? This has had it's benefits, but it has also put an enormous pressure for women to calculate what the right road is. Motherhood is also lonely.  Days where women exchanged homemaking skills in the market and shouldered each others chores have been replaced with running an entire household solo and going days without seeing or talking to an adult. And then there's the competition. Your friend has just posted on social media 3 homemade organic cotton onesies, while you are trying to remember if you brushed your teeth. We are exposed to many "success stories", yet do not see the sweat, blood and tears, so it's no surprise we wonder, why can't I do what she does? I must be doing something wrong...

So moms are more stressed and depressed. We often hide our ugly side, the one that seems to uncontrollably come out when the right buttons are pushed. We think we are the only one, and if we dare be honest and ask for help, nobody would really love us. So we keep it to ourselves. I hope this style of relationship becomes more and more common with this generation, so I applaud Becky for being brave and putting it in ink. 

I would say this book is best consumed over a period of 2 weeks. I took this book as a serious assignment, so I read it in 1 week, every night before bed.  This allowed little time for reflection on the end-of-chapter questions. I think I would have liked to read the chapter, reflect on the questions and journal about what the Lord was showing me. 

Okay, a couple things I DIDN'T like about the book. This is a book review, you didn't think we would get by without a little constructive criticism, did you? ;)

In the stream of a very casual writing style, Becky inserts quite a few jokes- in- parenthesis- after- sentences. It wasn't so much the content, I just found the frequency of them a little too much and unnecessary to get some of her points across. This of course could just be how Becky carries out a conversation with a friend, so if her goal was to have it just like that, good job. But in terms of having a flow to a book, I personally would not recommend it to other writers. Readers may easily become annoyed or distracted and lose their flow in the book. 

I also was a little unsure of the title as I read through the book. She used the term "hope unfolding", but she didn't really offer any explanation as to how that imagery was birthed. So I had a little bit of a hard time attaching myself to it. I kept thinking, maybe "hope blooming", but "unfolding" kept reminding me of origami or paper, and I was unsure of how hope was like that. It could just be my own ignorance, maybe one of you readers can give me your perspective. 

Oh, wait, I just thought of more things I liked about this book. Becky (or her publisher etc) did an excellent job on the cover art work and font. The cover is a white-grey clapboard wall with beautiful watercolor pastels of flowers and birds. The font is a sans- serif chalkboard font. I give them an A+ on being culturally attractive. This sort of shabby-chic DIY farmhouse artsy thing is all the rage right now, and people are definitely going to give this book a second glance in the bookstore or online. I am going to keep this little trick in my back pocket should I ever publish a book.  

Great read, I will totally recommend this my mom friends. What did you think of this review? What sorts of things do you want to know about  a book before you buy it? Please comment below, and share this review if you have a mom friend!



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