The Shoestring Girl Book Book Review

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Earlier this year Annie Jean Brewer released an updated and greatly expanded edition of The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too. The basic theme of the book in her own words is “You can do almost anything when you need practically nothing.” While Annie warns that she may come off as preachy at times, in my opinion the book comes off as very gentle and informative. The only parts of the book that I could remotely see as being preachy, are the sections where she talks about ways to help protect yourself against setbacks and less than honest businesses. Her emphasis is to focus upon the suggestions that sound helpful and disregard the ones that you do not like. Annie does a wonderful job balancing a positive outlook with the harsh economic reality for way too many people. She starts out with a remainder that you are richer than you realize, and stresses the importance of focusing upon what we have and not what we do not have. The final chapter is “The In End” which concludes with the importance of focusing upon the things that are the most important. In the middle is over 300 pages of resource on almost any topic you can think of ranging from housing, transportation, cheap and simple recipes, household cleaning, personal care products, clothing, computers, entertainment and even “bad habits”. Annie writes in a very straightforward and at times entertaining manner. Her stories are wonderful and make you feel like the book is more about her sharing what she does and not telling you what to do.
Finally another off-label use of the book that I would like to suggest is a way to help understand the reality for a lot of people in the country. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a well off family in the suburbs and Annie’s writing has been a major eye opener to me. The chapter on “How to live in the hood” was especially an eye opener to me. So if you do not think you need her advice on how to live on less, then there is a good chance that you may need a window into the reality of her world. Jesus commands us to look after the poor among us with love and compassion. Yet all too we fail to understand and wrongly assume that the poor are poor because they are lazy. Thus it is important for us to understand the reality of those less fortunate as understanding is the first step towards compassion. The one caveat that I have about the book is that you may want to consider skipping the chapter on raising animals for food. While the chapter is very informative it may contain a bit too much information for those of us that will never put it to use. Unless of course you are looking for inspiration to consider going vegan.
For full disclosure I can rightly be accused of bias in this review. Annie is a friend of mine and without her encouragement this site would not exist. This is also a book that I helped write. I was blessed with the opportunity to assist by helping to review the working draft in real-time. While I was given a free PDF copy of the final book from Annie, I choose to also buy a copy of the ebook. So yes the book is really that good. This post contains affiliate links to help cover the cost of running the site.

Sweeter Than Chocolate Book Review

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“Do you enjoy God’s Word more than television? More than the Internet? More than your phone? If you find yourself turning off the television, unplugging from the Internet, or ignoring your phone to study the Bible, you have developed a healthy addiction. That’s a true expression of how much you value God’s Word.” ~ Christy Bower
Sweeter Than Chocolate is a basic book that has two main goals. First to inspire you to truly enjoy the Bible by approaching it with the right mindset. Second to provide a basic overview of the different ways of taking in the Bible and various study aids that may be helpful. The book is inspired by the image in Psalm 119 which describes the Word of God as tasting sweeter than honey. Christy points out that in the modern world chocolate has become to us what honey was in the ancient world. Today when one craves something sweet to enjoy, it is chocolate, not honey that we seek out. Thus to put Psalm 119 in a modern context, the Bible should be enjoyable or something is wrong. More times than not the problem is not approaching the Bible in a way that leads to understanding. The book then goes to provide an overview of the various methods to get more out of the Bible. This includes various approaches to reading and reflecting upon the Bible in a way that is meaningful to who you. Christy also provides an overview of the numerous types of Bible study resources that can help increase one’s understanding and enjoyment of the Bible.
What I like most about Sweeter Than Chocolate is Christy’s very positive writing style. Her book is completely free of any fear and guilt manipulation to make people feel bad if they do not read the Bible. Instead, Christy offers gentle encouragement and helpful suggestions to take into consideration with an overall emphasis on how reading the Bible should be enjoyable. She even goes to the point of urging the reader not to read the Bible when they do not feel like it. The logic behind this suggestion is that forcing oneself to read the Bible only reinforces the negative view that it is a chore. As compared to enjoying the Bible which will naturally lead to us wanting to spend more time in Bible reading. I see Sweeter Than Chocolate as being the especially helpful to teenagers, young adults and people who are new to the Christian faith. Although any Christian can be inspired by her message of how the Bible should be enjoyable in the same way that eating chocolate is enjoyable.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by Christy Bower in exchange for agreeing to write an honest review. I have not been paid or pressured to write a positive review by Christy. The content of this review is completely my own opinion. This post contains affiliate links to help cover the cost of running the site.