Review: Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

If you’re a Christian woman in her late-twenties to early-forties, you most likely have heard of Jen Hatmaker. Funny, thoughtful, and to the point, she has a diverse following. This year, she’s used her platform to talk about things we often don’t like to talk about – race, privilege, politics. I’m always amazed at those who continue to follow her and am grateful that she is able to push the boundaries and world-views of many women.

_140_245_Book.2334.coverHatmaker’s newest book, Of Mess and Moxie just released and I was looking forward to seeing her shifting voice. In the introduction, she talks about how her theology and outlook have shifted over the years, and how this is a healthy thing. It’s true – if my views on life and faith were exactly the same as they were ten years ago, it would indicate more stagnation than steadiness.

This new collection of essays dives into some of her growth. But it also is cut off by other essays about things like How to do math homework with a middle schooler and How to find a family pet. These are funny essays but they took away from the overall depth and power of her more serious essays. I feel like Hatmaker has a great influence and a powerful way of writing. Maybe she knows the art of taking baby steps with her audience but I wish she (or her publisher?) would allow her readers to go on a deeper dive without having to resurface just as things are getting interesting.

Here’s the thing, if you’re a fan of Jen Hatmaker’s, you’re going to love Of Mess and Moxie. It’s her signature style and she feels like a buddy talking on the front porch about life and friendship and motherhood. I like Hatmaker’s message but her style at this stage just isn’t for me. It’s a reminder that not every book is for every person, and that’s ok.

How do you like your essays – deep and thought-provoking or witty and fun?

I received this book free from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.


Review: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker + Giveaway

I had the opportunity to hear Jen Hatmaker at MOMCon – a MOPS convention – a couple years ago. Her speaking style is very similar to her writing style: Big, loud, “spicy,” Texan. She is a passionate speaker and has done amazing things to live out her beliefs. Her honesty, humor, and down-to-earth tone has created an enormous following of white, middle class, Christian moms. In other words, she is speaking to my demographic. While I’ve never envisioned us as BFFs, I appreciate Hatmaker’s voice to my peers: Love God, Love Others.

_140_245_Book.1649.coverIn her newest book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, Jen Hatmaker combines her usual wit and conviction in a series of essays about life as a mom, Christian, and minister.

I’ll admit, I went into this book a bit skeptical. Her previous books have been built on short chapters and I just wasn’t sure I was ready for another blog-like series of essays. I was pleasantly surprised. Hatmaker’s signature wit was certainly present (and there were plenty of fluff chapters to keep the reader chuckling) but she also added a certain depth that I wasn’t expecting. The chapters on Christian culture, on raising kids, and on building grace for our communities were insightful and honest. In fact, I wish there were more of those. She was able to combine her own life experience into a broader story and had some necessary things to say about our expectations for the generation of kids we’re raising.

Hatmaker knows her audience and writes for them. This is not a universal book – it is written for women who enjoy a certain lifestyle (kids, gourmet food, wine). Perhaps it’s because I fit into this group, but I didn’t find it off-putting. I appreciate that Hatmaker knows who will read her book and writes for them. Her most powerful essays are effective because of this – she is speaking directly to her readers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was encouraging and thoughtful. I caught glimpses of where Hatmaker could go as a writer and am hoping to see even more depth in her future books.

I am amazed at the number of women who want to be Jen’s best friend. Have you ever read an author with whom you instantly connect?

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of For the Love. Leave a comment telling me whether you are drawn to humor or inspirational books and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, August 28, 2015. (United States addresses only.)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.