I recently read For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards and I am still trying to figure out whether or not I would recommend the book. In short, I appreciated a majority of the humor, but could not figure out how all of the humor fit within a book about love and grace. She had many great points, but a few that were off the mark.
I enjoyed much (but not all) of her humor. You know that an author has a great line if you still find yourself chuckling about it pages later. I was definitely laughing out loud. She clearly has a gift in adding humor into her writing. I can see why she has quite the following.
I could not get over the flow of the book. She would fill a chapter with passion and depth as she wrote about subject matters close to her heart. You are deep into a chapter talking about matters of eternal significance…then the next chapter would then be solely a humorous essay about the most random topics. If confused me every time. She ends a chapter with “God, make us worthy of Your calling.”, then you turn the page to read a rant about pants as leggings. This may be a personal preference, but I did not like going back and forth between the two.
And…the random humorous chapters had little to do with love. Yes, they were entertaining, but I felt like some of her humor detracted from her message.
If you know you are saved by grace and that you are loved by Him regardless of your sins and shortcomings and if you are OK with weeding through snippets of doctrinal errors, go ahead and read For the Love. She had valid points and I think the book would make for a great book club discussion.
She speaks of finding women who excel in different areas. You can combine the best of many different individuals and decide The Result is the woman you want to be. All of everything. It’s not attainable or realistic and it sets you up for failure and disappointment. Jen speaks of this invented standard that steals joy. I liked her advice when she said:
We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”
I appreciated much that she said about using your gifts. She spoke of a purpose that may not venture outside a home. To a stay-at-home mom who may be deep in the busyness of little children, she speaks highly of meeting the needs of and nurturing the little souls. Her chapter “On Calling and Haitian Moms” reminded me of a quote that I like: “We do not all have to shine”.
I am not going to share every sentence I did not agree with, but this is where I think the book is off: “God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong.”
Is love important? ABSOLUTELY! Does our Savior call us to love? YES!
Does God measure my existence based on how good I am at loving others? Thankfully no. I fall short. I do not love as I should. I can be selfish with my time. I can be impatient with those I love (just ask my husband!). I am quiet and can be tentative with showing love to those not close to me. By falling short in loving those around me, I fall short in loving my Savior.
So based on the line in For the Love (page 71), I’m out of luck. I don’t love my Savior and others like I should, so I wouldn’t want to know how God measures my existence…
This I do know: I am sinful. Thankfully, by God’s grace I am forgiven for not showing love as I should. It’s through His love that I am saved. MY love has nothing to do with it.
I enjoyed reading much of For the Love. I feel like you could grow and learn from points that she shared, but I feel like you could also be confused.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Michele Morin says
What an intriguing and balanced review. I shy away from doing negative reviews (mostly because I refuse to read and write about books that I don’t like), but you have such a sweet spirit, I enjoyed hearing your comments.
I was nervous to post a review that didn’t have all positive things to say. I don’t want to bash a book when the author clearly has put her heart into her it! On the other hand, I don’t want to gloss over the ideas I disagree with. Thank you so much for your kind comment!
I was curious about this book, so I was glad to see a review posted in Literary Musing Mondays. I think I would be bothered about that sentence as well. Thankful God judges me on Christ’s merit and not my own!
Yes, so thankful!
Thanks for your well balanced and honest review. I agree God does not measure us by how good we love Him or others, but by how much He loves us. And I am so thankful for that! He is so good.
Saw your review at the ‘Literary Musing Mondays’ link-up. : )
I really appreciate your perspective on this! You did an excellent job!
Thanks, Elizabeth. :)
I loved this review….something has been holding me back from reading this book. I bought it on my Kindle, but have yet to dive in. I LOVE Jen Hatmaker – I think her heart is in the right place and I love following her on social media, and the humor. OH MY> yes! Thank you for this honest review!
That was the same line that ruined the book for me. Totally agree with you.
I was interested in this book because it seems to be popular right now. I appreciate your balanced and honest review. It sounds like a book that would still be worth reading, but I’m glad to be aware of some of the negative aspects.
Angela Howard says
Really nice and balanced review. I appreciate your heart and the fact that you were honest but not unkind.
Now you have my curiousity. Haven’t read any of her books but always looking for a new read.
Meg Gemelli says
Wow, thank you for your honesty. The only reviews I’ve seen so far rave about For the Love. I understand the pressure…Jen Hatmaker is a really big name. I feel like I trust you better as a fellow writer now, having heard your authentic feedback. Thanks so much!!
Stacey Thureen says
Thank you for sharing your insights in a way that is well balanced. I’m stopping by from women with intention to.
I’ve read the book and thought it was great, but for some reason that sentence went right past me. Thank you for writing an honest review. I’m always honest with my reviews and it’s refreshing to see another book reviewer do the same.
Thank you for your honesty and balanced perspective. It takes courage to be this honest. I really appreciate the way to treated this review…not too positive and not too negative. Never once did you attack the author as a person. We don’t have to agree with everything someone says all the time. You handled it with grace. Thank you.
It was my intention not to attack. Thanks Jennifer!
I so appreciate this honest review! Giving an honest review is not always an easy task, particularly for a book that seems to be as wildly popular as this one. But graceful honesty is always courageous. Thank you!
Kelsey Ferguson says
Thank you for this honest, eye-opening view. I have edited my gushing-over-this-book post to include a link to your review as I sort through my own feelings about this book. While the choppiness of the book didn’t really bug me, it does bug me that I didn’t catch the botched theology. <3
Thanks for linking to my review, Kelsey. I read through your intro as you spoke about wading through your thoughts about the book. Good for you for updating your review as you think about it more! Being a part of a launch team is fun (I was not in Jen’s but have been in others) and it is easy to have the excitement of everyone else get you going!
Sarah Donegan says
I read the book and loved it but appreciate your honesty. I stopped doing reviews because I have a hard time stating the negatives.
I loved the back and forth and felt the funny chapters were a break from the heavy. :)
Mary Hill says
Thank you for your honest review and look at this book. I thought about reviewing it too, but selected another book. I like a book that flows from chapter to chapter too and sticks to a great theme. Thanks for sharing on Literacy Musing Mondays.
Lisa Appelo @TrueandFaithful.net says
Visiting from Grace and Truth specifically because I was curious about the book. I appreciate your sincere review that covered what you liked and what you didn’t. I cannot imagine every book hitting a home run with every reader every time. Thanks for going ahead and sharing!
I am now intrigued to read the book. As my coaching system is Living the Love, the topic is dear to me. Although she may have worded it awkwardly, God does want us to love Him and glorify Him and he does command us to love one another. I am looking forward to reading how she handles the fact that He forgives and loves us through Jesus when we fall short.
As a parent, I think of it as His expectations. I am glad to have His love when just as a child I miss the mark I am aiming for and even in the lowest times when I can even be angry with God. Anyone still love their angry teenagers?
Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book. This is the second time this morning I’ve seen the book in my linkup party. Heading over to read the next one. I like honest reviews since I base whether or not I’m going to read a book a lot on reviews. Thanks for sharing at Book Wino today.
Ruthie Gray says
You made me laugh with your line about gettin past the theological issues. I have the book and I also have many mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, she made me LOLOLOL. In bed. While trying to wind down. Aka: not good bed reading material.
On the other hand, I have a problem with how she states her interpretation of Scripture. She is out there with how she lives her life and I appreciate her transparency. But I think she either twists Scripture to make her own point (at times) or doesn’t explain well what she means with her interpretations. I can see where she’s coming from on the love quote, but not how she worded it.
The book WAS choppy, wasn’t it?!? I didn’t like that either. Personally, I just wanted it all to be funny because man. LOL. I just enjoyed those parts the most.
Great job on this review – caught it on Grammietime’s link up today! Bless you, gal! :)
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You mentioned that you saw where she is coming from on the love quote, but not how she worded it. I think that is the case in much of what I didn’t agree with! Sometimes I couldn’t figure out if I disagreed with her or if she just words it in a way that is off. A great book to discuss!
And yes…so funny and so choppy. :)