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Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Book Review: Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

August 8, 2017
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After the much-celebrated New York Times Best-Seller, For the Love, Jen Hatmaker is back with another collection of funny and inspiring essays in Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life.

Hatmaker fans will swoon over her hilarious spin on topics such as motherhood, decorating, and the church. With Hatmaker’s you-can-do-it encouragement for her tribe, Moxie stands out from the other non-fiction on the Christian living shelf. She enters into the mess that is a part of all of our lives and reminds us we have what it takes (moxie) to survive.

When You Get That “I’ve Read This Before” Feeling

Mamas love Jen’s take on parenthood. She regularly posts about her family’s escapades on social media. Many of those stories find their way into Moxie. As a matter of fact, readers who follow her on Facebook or Instagram may have that “I’ve read this before” feeling as several beefed-up microblogs make an appearance in Moxie.

For the Love fans will recognize a similar message to mamas throughout Moxie. From her “sturdy up” pep talk: “You guys, the kids are fine. We are fine We need to sturdy up a bit. The definition of great parenting is not a mother who engineers every waking moment around the whims of her kids. It is not a mom who drops all else to cater to them.” The take-home point lines up with her message to moms in her last book: “I believe we can take a handful of things quite seriously as parents and take the rest less seriously, and it is all going to be okay. You are doing an amazing job.”

Her stories are delivered with perfect comic cadence and wrap-up with a wise take-home point. While Hatmaker injects humor in most chapters, she takes license to speak frankly about (and to) the church and her faith. Sandwiched in the middle of the stories and advice are “How To” chapters which include laugh out loud, stand-up style humor. She includes some favorite family recipes, serving as fillers for the belly and the book.

Is IT in the Book?

Earlier this year, Brandon and Jen Hatmaker publicly supported gay marriage. This caused quite a stir in the Christian community. Fans and critics want to know if Hatmaker addresses the LBGTQ issue in this latest release. Those who take issue with her recent theological shift may find a few paragraphs to nit-pick. For example, early in the book, she writes, “Perhaps God is seeding you with new vision, new ideas, different perspectives, or even enormous adjustments.” Later, in an essay entitled “Rewoven,” she says, “If we’re doing this thing right, the family can stay intact through hard questions, disagreements, and a severe wrestle with divine mysteries.” It is possible to read conflict into her prose. But without the LBGTQ elephant in the room, it is also possible to read the book from the introduction to the acknowledgments without offense.

Because she is witty, real, and relatable, Jen Hatmaker’s tribe can make anything she writes go viral. Of Mess and Moxie uses what’s already worked for Hatmaker and adds to it. The result is a somewhat scattered collection of essays that are, in some way, related to being a mess or having the moxie to handle the mess. If you love JHat, you will love owning a bound collection of her funny, girl-next-door sensibility. If you are new to the tribe, I think you will enjoy Moxie and will likely start following her on social media channels to get more. If you are mad at her, you may want to follow Paul’s advice in Romans 12:18, skip this one and, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (NIV).

Of Mess and Moxie is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target.


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Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children spanning preschool to teen. Her favorite indulgences are coffee, reading, writing, and running. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at MrsDisciple.com.

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