Simple & Free by Jen Hatmaker

Dear Fellow Readers,

I know that most people think of January 1st as the day to make changes in their lives. During the pandemic, lots of people found the need to do some cleaning out and/or took the time to learn something new.

Some of us just existed. And that is fine too.

So far in this new year, I have been doing a lot of reading about eating and nutrition. It has been interesting and overwhelming. Funny, I haven’t read anything that tells me that I should eat steaks and butter. Why is that?

Seven years ago, Jen Hatmaker decided that she needed to make some changes. To accomplish this, she decided that for seven months during one year she would try to make changes in her families lives. She also had a group of friends that would support her during this time by either joining in or modifying the program for themselves.

The book about their experiences came out seven years ago. Now that time has passed, she is publishing an update of the first book with comments from where she is today.

“It is simply an imperfect social experiment to help us find God in an overcrowded, overindulged, overscheduled life. And it did.”

So, here is the thing. I really don’t know much about the face of the Southern Baptist Church. A more honest description would be that I don’t know much about Christian churches. If you didn’t catch this previously, I do not normally read “Christian books”. Why I decided to read this one is a bit of a mystery but there was something in the description that caught my attention. Okay, not that I got the book free for review (which I did) but I am behind in my reading so there had to be something there to catch my attention. Anyway…

The seven areas that are covered in the book are Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, Stress. In the months that she tackles each topic, she picks seven things to keep and use but is prohibited more than those seven items. For example, during the Food month, she eats only chicken, eggs, whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados, and apples. During the month about clothes, she picks 7 items of clothing that she will wear for the month.

I found the book interesting. It reaffirms a lot of my reading about our place in this world and how we should be better stewards of our surroundings. I felt that the tone of the book is friendly and easy to identify with. Okay, I did skip over some of the Bible lessons which seemed to get lengthier as the book went on.

I think one of the things that I liked is that she was learning while she was going. It is certainly easier to learn from someone who is just learning themselves and is enthusiastic than some of the dry books out of the subjects.

Yes, I would recommend this book. I would say that you should go in with your eyes open as to what the book is about. You may or may not be interested in the subject matter. I was interested in what she did and how it went.

Not being part of the Christian Church scene, I had never heard of Jen Hatmaker before. Also, she had a show on HGTV which must have been on after I cut the cord. She also indicates that she has had some problems with traditional Christianity prior to the first publishing of the book and in the intervening years. It is hinted that part of her problems with the Church come from her support of the LGBTQ community. I liked her writing and approach to the issues. Her openness improved the book in my estimation.

Thanks for reading.

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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1 Response to Simple & Free by Jen Hatmaker

  1. Julia Tomiak says:

    Carol,
    Thanks for this review. I’ve heard about Jen Hatmaker a few times now and wondered what all the fuss was about. I recently put FIERCE, FREE, and FULL OF FIRE on my Goodreads TBR.

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