Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Church of Small Things - by Melanie Shankle: Book Review

Title: Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
Author: Melanie Shankle
No. Pages: 224
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 3.10.2017
Format: Kindle
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography-Memoir, Religion-Christianity, Humor

This isn't my first book of Melanie Shankle's. I read her first three as they released. A review for her third book, Nobody's Cuter Than You was reviewed here on the blog. 

Church of Small Things is somewhat more different than the first three. It's still funny, with a clear Melanie Shankle voice, but it approached a more serious plethora of topics. She writers about family, parents and grandparents, her sister, her husband and daughter, about friends, church and community. If you are familiar with her other books you may have read about all these before. Not to mention, if you know her blog, most certainly you will feel like you already know about the people she writes about. Some chapters read more like a blog entry, without the serious-toned or meaning-filled ending. Readers and non-readers of the blog will like it nonetheless. Other chapters are more serious, without the extra-funny parts, and I enjoyed those the most. It's like reading the saga of a Southern family.

I like how she approaches every chapter. She may start from a random idea, but the story is deeper and has meat to it, and you read it feeling like she's telling this personal anecdote and life lesson to a small group of friends, you among them. Melanie is good at telling stories that hold your attention, but without thinking too highly of herself. She is down-to-earth and easy to relate to, despite the decades and countries that maybe separate her from her readers.

I don't usually skip parts in any of the books I read, but this time I did. I just skipped the chapter about her dogs. I don't read the blog entries about the dogs, nor the shenanigans they too often find themselves in, nor do I care about the haikus one of the dogs is compelled to write too often after every event of its life. Those dogs are neurotic and they stress me out. I also regret reading the chapter about her wide selection of pets over the years. Maybe not wide in your opinion, but 3-5 too many in my opinion.

All in all, I sure had a good time reading her memoir. Of all her books so far, this had the most memoir-like feel to it, and the one I enjoyed the most. About her third book I said it was better than the first two; this time I must say that her fourth book is better than her first three. Having followed her writing over the years, I can tell she has become more comfortable in her writing. Now I cannot wait to read her next one.

My only regret is that the advanced e-book copy I received did not have the Foreword by Ree Drummond

I received a free advanced reader e-book copy from the publisher via Net Galley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

-About the Author-
Melanie Shankle is a graduate of Texas A&M and lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline. Melanie began blogging in July 2006 when she started her blog, Big Mama. She’s also a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman blog. Her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, came out in February 2013 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. Her second book, The Antelope in the Living Room, was released on February 4, 2014 and also hit the New York Times list.

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