Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review: "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker

You know how sometimes the universe tells you it is time to embrace a concept? Well, shortly after I read the Seven Things blog, Steve's aunt Kim posted something on her facebook about a book called "Seven", mentioning that it was an amazing read (or something... I don't remember her exact phrasing.) Wondering if the two sevens were at all connected, I did what I always do when someone recommends a book - I went to see if my secret lover (known in some circles as "library") had it. Well, my lover had it, but had loaned it to someone else. I asked very nicely if I could borrow it next, and my lover agreed. Then I promptly forgot about it.

A couple weeks ago, my lover sent me an email informing me that the book had been returned, and I could borrow it. During our regularly scheduled date, I picked up the book, put it on my shelf, and ignored it for other things I was reading. When it came time to pick a new book to read, I chose it because it seemed the most likely to stay open in my lap while I knit/crochet. The first night, I cozied up to it with knitting project in hand, and started reading. I have been hooked since.

The book is about a woman's experiment in severing earthly attachment. For 10 months she challenged herself to minimize. She focused on one area a month (taking two weeks off between each month): food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, stress. For food, she ate a diet limited to 7 foods. For clothes, she allowed herself a wardrobe of seven items (not including bras, socks and undies). For possessions, she pledged to get rid of 7 things a day (but far exceeded her goal). You get the idea.

Sometimes she undertook the challenges with only her husband. Sometimes her kids were in on it. Sometimes her friends did the same or related challenges.

Even if you have no religious affiliation, or align with a different religious group than the author, the realizations she comes to about her life and attachment can resonate. The concept of a global movement as she envisions it is compelling. And if nothing else, she tells some really touching stories.

Next time you are looking for something to read, I highly recommend Seven by Jen Hatmaker.

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