UnInvited Review (Didn't Love It)

2/5 stars.

So, I'm just going to go ahead and give you the bottom line right from the start - I was rather disappointed in this book.

I read The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst a while ago, and I really found it helpful, so I thought I'd pick up her new book.  I generally think that Terkheurst is a good writer, but this book really fell flat for me, I think for a few reasons.

1.  This was not a great time in my life to read this book.  I was trying to remember my own past rejections as I read, and trying to evaluate whether the book would have been helpful to me in those times when I was feeling rejected in the past, or when I face it again in the future...but I really didn't get much out of it.  I can't tell if this is because the book really wasn't as helpful as it should have been, or if it was just that I am not currently feeling rejected which might make it hard to relate to what she was saying.

2. The book didn't seem focused.  I felt like she was trying to be too broad with the subject of this book.  Feeling "unloved","less than", "left out", and "lonely" are pretty different problems in my opinion, each of which probably deserves it's own book.  There are different types of rejection, and I felt like she lumped them all together and tried to address them all at once. I think we would have been better served as readers if she broke it down a little more clearly.

I probably should have just known she was going to try to tackle all this from the subtitle of the book, but I went into this book thinking the topic was "rejection" because I heard Terkheurst speak about it before I picked it up. However, I kept losing track of what we were even talking about, and I had to remind myself that "Oh yeah, this book is about rejection".  As a reader, I find it annoying when I keep having to remind myself what the author is talking about.  It felt all-over-the-place to me, and I felt she was really stretching trying to make some of these topics fit under the umbrella of "rejection".  It wasn't what I expected.  

3.  I was frustrated at how she used Scripture in some places in this book.  To clarify, I did like a lot of the verses she included and thought they could be helpful, so I'm not picking on every Scripture use in this book. But there were a few places where I just thought "huh?".   

For instance, she has a chapter about abundance and scarcity - I've heard her speak on this before, and it is an interesting psychological concept, but she explained it poorly and over-spiritualized it.  She included a quote that referenced the story of Joseph and the famine in the Bible - and the quote implied that there was abundance in all the world before this (not true - there were at least a couple famines before Joseph - Genesis 26:1), and then blamed all the scarcity in the land on Pharaoh, which isn't an accurate representation of what happened at all.

In another chapter she writes about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness, but she talks about how Jesus was feeling rejected at this time - and I don't know where she is getting that.  While I like the idea of applying Scripture when we are feeling rejected, it was a stretch to use that story to illustrate her point.  The passage is talking about temptation, not rejection.

Another example is when she is using the olive tree as an illustration in Chapter 15, talking about being "crushed" and how God can use that to bring about good in our lives - but then she includes 2 Corinthians 4:8 which says we are pressed, but not crushed.  Following that is a confusing monologue about being crushed, but at the same time we're not crushed, and I honestly had no idea what she was trying to say anymore.  The whole thing was self-contradictory.

And somewhat related, she also used the words "revelation" and "divine insights" in a few places where she was really talking about her own insights, and I didn't like that.  The Bible is our revelation from God and the only writing that is "divinely inspired".

4.  Too much "romantic" spiritual language.  This is a personal pet peeve, but I get tired of the romantic analogies of our relationship with Jesus.  Jesus is our God, not our boyfriend.  To reduce our speech about him to romantic terms takes away some of the power of the fact that we are loved and valued by the Creator of the Universe.

So, for something positive - Terkheurst's writing is engaging, which is always a plus, and her personal stories really add color to her topics. This book missed the mark for me, but I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy it at all. 

Overall, I know what she was trying to do in this book, but it felt like "too much bread, not enough butter" - ie. she was stretching too much out of her topic, and definitely stretching with some of her Scripture applications.  Use discernment with her Scripture applications if you do read  this one, but I don't know, I wouldn't say I recommend this book, and honestly, I don't know if I'll pick up another book by Terkheurst.  She lost some of my trust with point #3.

Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.
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Alaina Beth said...

I love this - Jesus is our God, not our boyfriend. Amen, sister. AMEN! Drives me NUTS.

Hannah said...

I just love your book reviews and I"m so glad you wrote a review on this book. I've been on the fence about reading it or not, and I feel like after your review that it just might not be the book for me to pick up and read. I've seen so much about it and was glad to finally see an honest opinion about it!

Inspired said...

Crazy! I'm having such a different experience with the book… However I am doing it with the study guide and a group of ladies. ( this might be the key with this book… It's a 'good' read without, but way better with those two components added…) I'm finding it super informational about challenging especially in the areas of feeling left out, lonely and less than, and in both the past and current seasons of my life; but it is also really informing my other relationships. Maybe this book is just one that's better in community. :-) I'll be sharing my complete review in a week or two!

Fashion said...

I totally agree with you.

Completely. I read this with a small group and while I loved that one of the girls seemed to really be in it, it just feel flat in many places to me-- especially with her interpretations of scriptures. So glad I wasn't the only one who noticed that.

I am a little puzzled at all the good reviews, I'm happy for her, but I do wonder if it has more to do with the fact that she attends a huge church. The book was so scattered, but like you I assume its because I don't really feel uninvited.

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