Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lean on Me - a book on community, but a memoir -- Book Review

What I really loved about this book - Lean on me - is the lack of "how-to". It is a memoir in which the author speaks pretty openly about aspects relevant to the topic, which I admired. I knew some things about the author, Anne Marie Miller, and the things she went through, but this was a bit more detailed and it was useful in creating the context, and understanding why community and close relationships are that important.

I personally don't think this is a book that brings a revolutionary aspect to the "why do we need community" question. However, I think it helps the reader understand one person's point of view coming from a personal experience.

The way in which the author approached her situation, where she realised that something has got to change, and this all led to her moving across the country a few times.. yeah, I want that. But what this made me realise is that roots are not always physical. I appreciated her openness towards the group of mentors that were to guide her. Also, her willingness to guard herself from the "bad" community AKA those who wouldn't necessarily help her grow - to be appreciated.

This is probably not a nice thing to say, especially as a Christian, but I appreciated her not throwing a bunch of Bible verses into the book. I know them all. This is not the first book on community that I've read. I know the verses. I liked the effect of the Bible passages in her life better, to tell you the truth. I believe those were a major fact in her coming out of that dark period.

Probably more that this being a book on community and its importance, it is a book on how community actually helps ones brokenness and the feeling of lost that inevitably are to appear in everyone's life, even for the briefest of moments. 

I knew I liked this book when after I started it, I didn't dread going back to the "community book". That's not my favourite topic, but this was not the point with this book. I was actually eager to read more. It must be the memoir aspect of the book. If I sound like a curious lady, I am afraid I don't know how to defend myself.

All in all, I appreciated the honesty (the vodka and Coke moment? pretty honest) and the willingness to write about it. I also liked the style. I've previously read one of Miller's books, Permission to Speak Freely, and I also enjoyed that. She has a poetic kind of writing which draws the reader into the book, but this is probably something not everyone enjoys.

It's a good book and it's worth the time and money.

I was offered a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson--W Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

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