I did not expect to like this book.
Not sure why. Normally general non-fiction is not my forte and I'm far from fond of memoirs.
But this story hit me at a pivotal time in my life as far as the current state of my own faith. I've been spending lots of time with God lately and because all of my children are in school now, there's been more hours to just soak in Him and soak Him in. I'm experiencing the sweet, tender moments of prolonged pressing into His presence.
It's been good. Refreshing.
But God is constantly workin' on us, ya know?
He's been working on me with hope. Teaching me how. I won't lie to you...it's been hard and hard to understand. He commands me to hope. This is an encouragement because when God speaks (commands), He also creates the ability to do so.
A few months ago I felt about to enter a time of testing with my hope. I turned in some book proposals and my normal defense mechanism against the many rejections writers (pubbed and unpubbed) have to face along their journey was to simply not allow myself to get my hopes up. If I refused let myself hope for the contracts, then I wouldn't be disappointed if they fell through, right?
God, knowing me so well, said, "I want you to hope for this. And hope hard, with everything in you. Don't hold back and don't hold out on me. Pull out all the stops. Hope."
Well of course my first thought was that the contracts were probably going to go through and this was God, in a Daddy-fashion, being excited and anticipated for me for the blessings He was about to bestow.
Well, I was right and wrong in my thinking.
He was about to bestow a blessing but not the one I expected. I envisioned book contracts and getting to create many new characters.
He envisioned creating more of MY character. More molding, shaping, squishing--like clay--pliable.
So I had a choice on the front end of this. I could hope or I could hide behind my usual defense mech.
It's always best to obey God because, well, just...trust me...you don't want to NOT obey God. Yucky things happen and He will upend your life if He has to in order to help you see His side of things. I'm sure Jonah would concur.
So I hoped. And hoped. And hoped. Without holding back. I even put out faith markers to prove my hope to God. Told all my friends I'd submitted the stories and really hoped for the contract. Everyone in my life became excited for me. I was excited for me. It felt good to hope. And not because I was sure I would get the contracts. It felt good to hope because I'd been afraid to before and for the first time, fear didn't hold me back from hoping. THAT felt better than anything. Even better than a book contract.
Which was a very good thing because they all fell through. No contracts. All rejections. LOL!
What does all this have to do with Mitch Albom's book?
This book was sent to me by the publicity department of Hyperion books. I'm saying that for two reasons. One, the Federal Trade Commission, starting in Dec will require me to. And two, because I want to get used to adding not only that disclaimer but this one: I don't post bad reviews. I am a reviewer for several publishers, it's true. But, I warn them upfront: if I don't like the book, I won't post a public review, I will send it privately to them. A lot of people would disagree with me but as an author I can't bring myself to slam an another author publically. This is why most reviews that you sese from me are positive. I'm an honest reviewer, you just won't hear me talk about the books I didn't like...and trust me there are many.
Back to what my faith walk has to do with Mitch Albom's book:
Because this book arrived the day I received the most disappointing rejection. And guess what this book talked about most in my mind?
One line, that has Velcroed itself to my heart, said: "I am in love with hope."
This book was a gift from God to me. It taught me to hope. It brought comfort and a sense of everything's-under-control even though God commanded me to hope on purpose then allowed disappointment to come on purpose.
Still not sure what all He's trying to teach me, but I'm getting it. And that's more valuable to me than a book contract. That my hope stayed intact despite that He intentionally left it unmet was the true treasure AKA blessing.
This book will be a bestseller. It has to. It should be. Everyone needs to be able to hope. This book will do that, enable. I love that the publisher/author included photos in the book so I could see the people whose lives so beautifully intersected in this book. You meet people on purpose. People go in and out of our lives. It's fulfilling and painful at the same time. But the impressions people leave with us and the little pieces of themselves when they choose to invest in us and we let them is something no one can take away from us. This book captures the way we impact others. How our lives can mean something to someone else simply because we are we and they are they. No two people are alike and the truth is we need each other.
God meant it that way.
This story is beautiful mostly because it's about life. About how life should be. When I uploaded the publicity photo for this book, the file was simply named "half."
That struck me as odd until I figured out in blonde-who-hasn't had her second cup of coffee yet-fasion that HALF is the acronym for the title. How ironic and so symbolic. HALF. Hope is half us and half God because He imparts the ability to a degree but then we have to do our part by CHOOSING to hope and not let the fact that we hope or not depend on circumstances. This story will help you do that.
Get this book!
Have a Little Faith is ON SALE NOW!!!
More about the author:
A-list author Mitch Albom is an author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter who has written six books, including the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time. His first two novels, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, were instant number-one New York Times bestsellers. All three books were made into acclaimed TV films. Mitch oversees three charities in Detroit. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan. Ten percent of the profits from this ook will go to Hole in the Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless. www.aholeintheroof.com
Mitch's books have sold over 30 million copies of worldwide. He has been interviewed and his books have been featured on Oprah Winfrey Show (as a featured book club selection) and made appearances on The Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, and Larry King Live. Albom was Ted Koppel's final guest on Nightline. Tuesdays with Morrie remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 205 weeks and is now the bestselling memoir of all time. Albom is a former sports writer for the Associated Press and is a contributing editor for Parade
In Have a Little Faith, Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities--that will inspire readers everywhere.
More about the book:
OVERVIEW OF HAVE A LITTLE FAITH-provided by Side Door Communications/Pure Publicity
What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together?
Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.
Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.
As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.
Have a Little Faith is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story.