7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.
First of all, I want to profusely apologize. This makes two weeks in a row that I’ve recommended books which are completely haunting. Not in like, a Blair Witch Project sort of way. But in an I-can-not-continue-with-my-status-quo-after-reading-this kind of way. I mentioned how much I loved this book on facebook and a few days later my friend Kate texted me all “THIS BOOK!” and I was all “I KNOW!” And then we discussed how much we wanted to read some of her other books but were too chicken because our lives were already so disrupted by this one.
Here’s a blurb from the book description:
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence…a deeply reduced life to find a greatly increased God.
I’ll be honest: apparently, I’m really prideful. Because while I thought this would be a good read since I like Jen Hatmaker’s writing style (she’s incredibly witty in addition to being so thought provoking and y’all know I love me some clever humor) I didn’t think I’d want to like, give up anything. I was all “this will be an insightful book but it isn’t going to move me to any sort of action.” Which leads me to today, where I have a post in draft about how I now own less than thirty articles of clothing. Right. I finished the chapter on clothing and fifteen trash bags and a trip to the donation center later, everything I own takes up half of a shelf and a couple of dresser drawers.
And clothes are just things. I want to
do be so, so much more. Dang you, Jen Hatmaker.
I love the way this book is written. I was afraid it would seem preachy. Or worse, self-congratulatory. But it’s far from it. It’s a very honest look at what simplifying, pausing, appreciating and giving can do. It’s also hilariously witty and slightly snarky and I am so in love with the fact that this is how someone has written her truth. That she’s talking about this idea and these actions and this love for God and God’s love for us and it feels as though I’m having breakfast with my girlfriends because it’s so real and genuine and moving and funny. I realize that isn’t a real sentence and I used the word “and” far too many times but I don’t have a book deal so just go with it.
Here is the thing: this book moved me to prayer and action and I don’t think it even meant to. And I think that is how you know something is right. Sometimes I feel mired in this place of being constantly overwhelmed regardless of how many articles I have dog-eared in my Real Simple magazines. I think the premise behind 7 is the answer to that.
Of the 46 reviews on Amazon so far, every single one is five stars. So don’t just take my word for it. Read this book. If you don’t read any other book this year, read this one. And also the sequel to Divergent.