Friday, May 20, 2016

Seven, by Jen Hatmaker

Is it possible to write a self-indulgent book about fasting?  Jen Hatmaker has done it.  Hatmaker, a popular author, conference speaker, and pastor's wife, chose seven areas in which she imposed on herself a month-long fast of sorts.  In 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, she describes her chosen fast, keeping the seven theme.  For example, for the food month, she limited her diet to only seven foods.  For the spending month, she chose only seven places to spend money.

Most of 7 is spent with Hatmaker humorously yet annoyingly talking about what a challenge it is to live this way.  Yes, I understand that only wearing seven pieces of clothing for a month can be a logistical laundry and fashion challenge.  But she spent much more time talking about the challenge than the lesson.  This was the pattern for the book.  Each chapter was about 80-90 percent Hatmaker's chatty, self-indulgent reflections, and (maybe) 10-20 percent spiritual reflection.

To her credit, some of the reflections and lessons learned were worth reading, if a bit shallow.  For someone who's never read a word about justice, fasting, or self-sacrifice, I'm sure 7 will be full of profound revelations.  Mostly, though, it's a blog-style memoir of some arbitrary life choices that will make you laugh a little while asking, so what's the point?

2016 Reading Challenge: A book by or about a pastor's wife

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