Monday, April 05, 2010

Book Review: "The Noticer"

Title: The Noticer
Author: Andy Andrews
Published: Thomas Nelson, 2009.

The subtitle of the book says it all: "sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective." This is a book about change. It is an easy read, but the lessons contained within them require time to take effect. Change is never immediate, though the decision to change is. Written in a narrative format, seen from the eyes of an observer, Andy sees how one person called Jones positively brings back into perspective the various people at difficult points of their lives.

In begins with Andy's personal encounter with this mysterious old man called Jones.  With a remarkable ability to observe the ordinary, Jones seem to know every person by name. He calls Andy by name, and teaches him the art of 'focus,' and to bring a new perspective to meaning in life. For whatever one focuses on, it will incidentally increase.

Then there is a troubling marriage between Barry and Jan. Jones not only played the role of the mediator, he guides them through the 'dialects of love,' much like the Five Love Languages first popularized by Dr Gary Chapman. Next Jones touches the life of Walker Miles, who was on the brink of ending his life. Jones gently guides him not to let history control his future. The next lesson (chapter 5) deals with another marriage issue. Using wisdom as a guide, Jones defines wisdom as:

"the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present." (65)

Three friends, Ritchie, Caroline and Amelia were pointed toward a new perspective of being able to see the future, through believing that true friends and family have been placed on one's life for a reason to gain perspective. One should pay attention to such personal treasures.

With many other stories of lives changed to a better perspective, finally Jones mysteriously disappears the same way as he appears. He leaves behind his familiar looking brown suitcase. After looking in vain for the old man, the grateful ones gathered one day in a coffee shop to ponder and see what is inside the suitcase. In it contains lessons for the people to share the good that they have received from Jones.

My Comments
This is a simple but fascinating book of stories. It is weaved together artfully, without being condescending. The central character, Jones looks like a type of Christ, who happens to know each and every name, and their problems and challenges faced. Through some insightful questioning and pointed comments, lives were changed for the better. Indeed, sometimes even in the darkest moments of life, we may not have all the money and resources in the world, nor the power to change the world. All we really need is a little perspective. Nothing else.

This ability to shine a little perspective into the difficult challenges of life makes this book a worthwhile read and a necessary purchase.

My Rating: 4 stars of 5.


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