Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp + Giveaway

A couple of months ago, I was approached by a publicist to read and write a review for the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I had heard of this book, and had read at least one or two glowing reviews for it (by a friend of a Facebook friend), so I accepted the kind offer.

Unfortunately, it has taken me more than a month to finish the book and only by sheer determination.  As a whole, it's not a bad book.  The author writes in a beautiful, poetical style.  She is definitely a gifted writer.  However, I had a hard time getting into it.

Here are the words that the publicist shared with me about Ann and One Thousand Gifts:

Aside from being a New York Times bestselling author and popular blogger, Ann is a homeschooling mother of six. She is no stranger to the difficulties of motherhood – and life.

In the book and on her blog, Voskamp shares her own journey through hard, dark days and hidden fears as she seeks to answer one of life’s greatest riddles: how do you discover joy—right where you are?
I'll share a few quotes, mostly from the beginning of the book.

p. 15:  "Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude.  Adam and Eve, are simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave."

p. 29:  "How does one live ready, and always?  Yes, ultimately only Jesus.  Yes, this premature dying to self, birthing into the cross-life, the grace cocoon before emerging into the life unending.  Without this Jesus, no, no one can be ready."

p. 32-33: "That's what I was struggling out of nightmares to reach, to seize.  Joy.  But where can I seize this holy grail of joy?  I look back down to the page.  Was this the clue to the quest of all most important?  Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo -- the table of thanksgiving.  I sit there long . . . wondering . . . is it that simple?"

For the rest of the book, she talks much about eucharisteo.

p. 48-49:  ". . . but he {Martin Luther} did say, "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen."  I just like that quote.  She used this quote to inspire her as she was listing her one thousand gifts from God.

p. 59: "And I see it now for what this really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love.  It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me.  The true Love Dare.  To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable.  This is the vault of the miracles.  The only thing that can change us, the world, is this -- all His love."

I stopped taking notes after that because I just wanted to finish the book already.

Eventually, towards the end of the book, she drew another conclusion about attainging joy through service to others and used the words of Tagore to describe it:  "I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted, and, behold, service was joy."

The last chapter is titled the joy of intimacy.  She writes as the first line: "I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God."  If this chapter had been left out of the book, I could've given a recommendation of "it didn't jive with me, but maybe you'll like it."  With this chapter, based on some difficult experiences with a former preacher and his crazy theology, that chapter turned me just about completely off.  Still I read every word, well, mostly.

This review on Amazon pretty much says what I would like to say, only better.

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  1. I was intrigued by this book as well. I picked it up in the bookstore and read the first few pages. Her style of writing, in my opinion, is terrible. The way she described her sister's death made me sick to my stomach. I quickly put it down, but the images haunted me. I was still curious about her, as a person, so I googled her. I found an interview where the audience could ask questions. She came across haughty and weird. Every time someone complemented her, she closed her eyes, nodded her head and mumbled "Grace, grace, grace..." over and over till they stopped. The thing that did it for me though, was when she said that she would work on this book in the wee hours of the morning and then go wake her husband holding her Bible and saying "Look what God gave us!" (showing him something in the Word.) That's not the woman's place! I was shocked that a "theologian" such as she would not catch that error in herself.

    Anyway, sorry to write so much. I didn't know about the sexual thing...I can't even write it. It repulses me to lower God to that level. Thanks for your honest review.

    1. I have certainly learned my lesson about researching an author before accepting a request for a blog review!

      I should've known from the first page where she describes her birth ("ring of fire" and more) that the book would not be worth my time in reading.

      Thanks for your comments! I totally agree about what you said about that is not the woman's place! Her writing makes it seem like her head is so far up in the clouds that her body is no earthly good. I much prefer more practical writing in a prosaic style.

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