Sometimes, All a Person Needs is a Little Perspective
Author: Andy Andrews
Hard Cover, 176 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First, I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me a review copy of this book.
The Noticer is a compelling, if a little disjointed, work of fiction. It attempts to impart simple wisdom to the reader, sharing “perspective” on how to approach life. It is written in a fable form that reminds me of Patrick Lencioni’s work, e.g. The Five Temptations of a CEO, The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, etc. Chapter by chapter it presents somewhat disparate topics that are held together by a thin glue of positive thinking: Tomorrow still holds hope. What you focus on controls you. The small stuff is important.
At center of the story is an old man, Jones, who seems to show up wherever he is most needed to provide his peculiar form of insight – seemingly reading people’s minds and hearts when they are at rock-bottom. I was drawn into the story the further it went; the characters are hurting, and they know it. You feel compassion and want them to succeed. They are written well – and don’t suffer from being cookie cutter images of each other. Andy Andrews is able to present believable characters, from old ladies to immigrant workers. These characters provide a framework from which Andrews can address selecting a mate, making business decisions and recognizing the value of age, among other things.
Chapter 1, unfortunately, ends confusingly. “Andy” puts himself as the first-person character in the book. This combined with the character Jones, a mysterious if not altogether “other” sort of character, made for a hard time deciding whether we are meant to consider the events autobiographical, having played a part in making Andrews the acclaimed writer and speaker he is today.
Also notable is Chapter 3, which presents a slimmed-down version of the popularized five love languages (sans gifts). I think Andrews does a good job of providing memorable images so the reader will see how important it is to communicate in a “dialect” others will understand. It isn’t enough to just know that the message received isn’t what was given – you must watch for the tell-tale signs in others that will allow you to communicate love.
The Five Temptations of a CEO, which I mentioned before, has a very “other worldly” element, too. But everything ties neatly back in on itself in the end, leaving one with a feeling of completed thought at the same time as the reader feels empowered to do what has been suggested. The Noticer does not pull this off nearly as well. Jones defies easy explanation. And I found it hard to really see the work as a cohesive whole. It rather seemed a jumble of encounters with a wise, if a little disconcerting at times, old man. If he is meant to be a Christ-figure of some kind, it seems his message borders on self-empowerment, rather than a message of transformation through self-sacrifice on the part of another. In the end, many of the final story elements just don’t seem to connect with each other, leaving the reader with no clear thought as to “what next”.
I would give this book ★★★☆☆. It will likely remind you of things you have already read or heard, but that are worth being reminded about.