Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What did I think?

I honestly don’t know. I’ve read Ann Voskamp’s blog several times, and her writing is impeccable and beautiful. It sometimes seems as though she should be a poet, rather than a writer of prose, though. Her thought process is very similar to mine: We are both “insight-driven.” We have an insight or epiphany, and we put it into practice.

In spite of recommendations from several friends, I was reluctant to pick it up, mostly because of her writing style. While beautiful and elegant–almost ethereal–it’s just very verbose and poetic when it doesn’t need to be. I much prefer a more straightforward style.

That said, this book was eventually given to me by someone who loves me very much, in the midst of my depression, with the claim that it would “change my life.” I will admit that I put the book aside in anger at that point, reading way too much into the intent, in spite of knowing better. (You know who you are, and I humbly ask your forgiveness for that. I love you, and thank you for always having my best interests at heart.)

Needless to say, I finally picked it up and read it.

I found that this book, for me, just added a few bricks to the foundation the Lord has been building in me of thankfulness and worship in the everyday-ordinary of life. Back when I was first a mother, trudging through the daily grind of dirty diapers, dishes, and all that jazz, the Lord began to teach me vividly that Everything is Sacred, and that Everything, when done “unto the Lord,” counts as an act of acceptable worship. That when I was changing diapers, I was serving my Abba Father in holiness.

This book adds gratitude to that in a way that makes sense, and built on what the Lord has been doing in me for ten years now. It wasn’t life-changing for me, but there were valuable nuggets sprinkled throughout its pages that encouraged me, challenged me, and had me remembering what the Lord has done for me and in me all these years. Kind of a calling back to basics for me.

I’m also contemplating starting my own 1,000 gifts journal, to help me bring my focus back to a more Christ-centered vision.

Things I liked most about the book:
~I appreciated the uniqueness of Voskamp’s approach, beginning with the word Eucharisteo. That was just cool.
~Her honesty with her own personal story.
~The lack of dogmatic formulas: “Do x, y, & z, and you will achieve a, b, and c results, be holier than everyone, and finally get it all right.” She is refreshingly honest, and it is obvious she is only sharing her heart, and letting the chips fall where they may. She doesn’t believe Eucharisteo will look the same for everyone who wants to implement it in their lives. She never implies that her version of gratitude is a magical spiritual panacea. I cannot emphasize how wonderful this is.
~Her use of language and word pictures is beautiful. She has beauty radar – she sees it in unexpected places, and can paint a verbal picture in such a way that you can see it yourself.

Things I didn’t like:
~Her over-flowery language, and her weird word ordering. She also gets a little repetitive at times, using ten words when only five would likely do. Though I found it easy to understand, it just doesn’t flow the same way my brain does. This is entirely subjective, though, and I know many poet-types who will deeply appreciate, and likely devour this book the way a thirsty man drinks until near-bursting when he finds water.

In short, this is a book I will likely pick up again in a year or two, high-lighter in hand, to capture those nuggets I missed the first time around. I think it’s a valuable addition to any Christian’s library, and worth a read if you have even the remotest interest in it. It really is a beautifully written book, and one I would definitely recommend.

(Please pardon typos — I didn’t bother to edit today.)

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

  1. I’m glad to read your review on this book because it has been recommended to me also and I anticipated pretty much what you describe. Glad to hear it’s worth reading and I’m sure I will in the future and we can compare notes πŸ˜‰

    • There are some fresh insights to be had. I can vouch that it’s completely her story — not once does she even say a thing about anyone else doing it. There’s ONE page in the back that lets you know about the app and website. That’s it.

      And that’s why it’s worth reading – it doesn’t claim to be “God’s way” of doing anything. She lets the Bible be the Bible, and her story is her story. So yeah. Your curiosity is warranted. πŸ™‚

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