Monday, September 6, 2010

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist

Zondervan (July 23, 2010) 256 pages

Desciption: (from Christianbook)
Change can be frightening or exhilarating, but it's always challenging---and educational. Drawing on her own recent experience of pain and chaos, Niequist explores nuggets of wisdom and growth she learned the hard way---through loss and transition. Her warm, lyrical reflections will help you perceive the blessings of change in your own life.

My Review:
When you write about things in your life, people are going to be judgemental! It doesn’t matter how perfect or un-perfect your life is, people will judge you. It comes with the territory of wife and mom. I learned that very quickly. That being said, I try really hard not to be judgemental, but I don’t always succeed. I think a lot of people who read this book might give Shauna a hard time. I guess I somewhat had a hard time with parts of it. I’ll write about those first and end with the good, because I do think the good outweighs the bad.

Shauna talks about not having money to spend, but then they seem to take lots of trips. I don’t think her idea of money being tight is the same as mine. Therefore, I don’t think some people will be able to relate to this book. They also seem to eat out a lot and have lots of parties. They may save their money very wisely and use it for special occasions, though. I don’t know. But we haven’t ever flew anywhere, so I guess in my mind they may seem a little spoiled.
I would have liked to have seen more of God in the essays. He’s there, but sometimes it seems like He’s forgotten in some of them. You can tell Shauna has great faith, though. She even fasts for a few weeks at one point.

Now to the good parts. I love that Shauna is honest. None of us are perfect, and she makes me feel better that I never made my own baby food. I bought the jars. The “perfect” mom would have and I felt guilty about that. She took the guilt away from me for never, ever having a house that is 100% clean. We all have our “specialties” and the things we don’t do so well. I have to say, I’m still hunting my specialty!! None of us can do it all.
I think throughout the story Shauna tries to emphasize the fact that even if we don’t have money to spend, do what it takes to keep friends around you. Even if we have a potluck meal at our house that isn’t clean, that’s okay. Again, we don’t have to be perfect. She comments that even if your friends live across the country, mark a weekend and fly out and get together. That’s not realistic for most of us, but I understand her point. Maybe I could get more creative and use my budget skills to come up with an alternative.
There are times, especially with her miscarriages that just broke my heart. I would never wish that on anyone, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her.
Shauna is just like the rest of us struggling through life. I’ve always said that no matter how rich or poor or what bad things are happening in your life, there’s always someone that is better off and someone who is worse off. That doesn’t take away from your suffering knowing that, though. For example, if I lost one family member and this other person lost five, it’s still going to hurt just as much knowing it could have been worse. But at the same time, you might get more sympathy from the person that is better off than you, and less from the one who is worse off. I think that will very much apply to this book.
Overall, I think this was a good book, but it wasn’t my favorite. After I read a book and write my review, I like to look at what other people wrote in their reviews, and on Amazon, Shauna has 31 five-star rating and only 5 that are under that, so I do encourage you to read those, too, because this could end up being the very book that changes your life!! We’re all different.

*Thanks to Zondervan for my review copy. This is my honest opinion. (This copy was an Advanced Reading Copy).

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