Monday, September 14, 2015

The Finishing School {Review}

The Finishing School
The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner 
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: NyreePress
Publishing Date: September 8th, 2015
In today’s world, our pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don’t need, bad habits we can’t seem to get a handle on and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it though? That’s the real challenge.

After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to use and start actually living it out. The result has been a refining process that has drawn her closer to God and produced the sweetest fruit in her life. You will hear about Valerie’s journey filled with failures and victories and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today

My Thoughts:
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book. The summary seems sort of vague so I thought perhaps it was going to be a sort of biography. Sometimes I enjoy going to into a book 'blind' like this, because what I did discover was better than just a biography but more like a devotional guide. 'The Finishing School' is a normal, relatable author exploring Big Topics in an effort to motivate the reader to want to finally take the steps to change their own lives.

Each chapter is termed a guide: 'A Guide to Prayer', 'A Guide to Minimalism', 'A Guide to Joy'. Each guide is supported with Bible verses and quotes from books that relate. The first guide is on prayer. Woerner begins with a short anecdote about her own experience and background with prayer so that we get a taste of where she is coming from. Instantly, she dives into a quote from Tim Keller and backs it up with a verse from the Gospel of John. After helping the reader see their need for the topic, Woerner dives right into four easy parts, or steps, to prayer for the beginner. She also includes a list of things she has experienced as a life difference as a result of consistently remaining in prayer.

After a few last helpful tips, Woerner closes out each guide with Homework. In this section recommended resources are listed but also lists a 'Work it Out' section which includes links to a homework sheet! Sound like too much? It really isn't. It is one sheet of questions to help us reflect on the topic and our own lives.

The author recommends a few different ways to read through the book. The most effective way, I believe, would be to read one chapter a week, to read through the book, work through the homework, and then apply it to your life. This is how I want to read through the book again. I'm planning on going back and working through all the homework. Maybe even make a bit of a blog series out of it?? I read straight through for the sake of this review and didn't get to apply a lot of the material.   Because of this I don't think I received the full effect of the book and it's core idea.

And before I start wrapping up, I feel compelled to share a negative. And that is? Editing errors. I found few formatting mistakes and general grammar mistakes. For example at one point we read an 'i' instead of the proper capitalized 'I'. Simple fixes and catches that jump out at you. Distracting and sad for such a fine novel.

Overall: my hint for you? Plan on treating this one as a devotional. To get the most from it, you will need to take your time and let the lessons really seep in. But also don't let that turn you away, it IS a book you can read straight through and still gleam a lot of inspiration and tips from. I can easily give 'The Finishing School' 4 stars and can't wait to work through it again. 

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