Vicarious Virtual Book Club
The Noticer Review for the Online Book Club
A business trip, and the 4th of July Holiday, delayed my posting of this Review of The Noticer by Andy Andrews. With The Postmistress discussion coming up week after next, I figured I'd better get on the stick!
I took copious notes, but now, two weeks later, my mind is not remembering all the details! Sister Chicks: feel free to jump in and clarify or correct me! Everyone else, feel free to comment!
STOP READING NOW IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE BOOK!
Our leader, Alice, facilitated the discussion on The Noticer. There were 12 Sister Chick Book Club members present. 3 and a half (one person was sort of undecided) didn't really like the book. "Trite," "self-help," and "pop psychology" summarize their reasons for not liking the book. Some of the other nine "really loved" the book. They said things like, "I learned a lot," "I'm reading it again," and "Good life lessons."
I was one of those who did not care for the book. I was very disturbed, and disappointed, that this book, published by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson was "lukewarm," at best. I saw the main character, alternately known as Jones, Chen, and Garcia, as a possible angelic being, capable of pointing people toward God, but falling short. Another book club member saw him as a Jesus figure. There were some Biblical-type references, but nothing concrete about God/Jesus. Because of those things, I was disappointed.
Everyone agreed there was good advice and interesting food for thought in the book. Perspective was Jones' favorite word, and we enjoyed some discussion about how important perspective is. Several people admitted to being prone to having negative perspectives, based on past experiences. (Optimistically calling a meal of sardines and vienna sausages "surf and turf" epitomizes Jones' examples of looking on the bright side of things, and focusing on what you want to achieve.)
Jones said very little about himself. We don't know much about his character, except for how he was able to point people toward changes of perspective. A good "noticer" listens. We miss so much when we don't really pay attention. When we're looking at something else, instead of looking at whomever is talking, we're not really listening. How much we must miss, because, as a society, we're so distracted. So many people slip through the cracks because we don't notice, or don't go to the effort, to make a difference in someone's life.
One Sister Chick said she felt guilty because she has realized she's missed opportunities to touch people because she's been so worried about her own issues. She said she's spent a lot of time worrying about things--especially as a mother. She said she could understand Walker (suicidal), because for a while, every year was worse for her than the year before. She was programmed by her circumstances to think that things would always be that way. She thought she would never be happy again. She's found joy in painting a room. She is gradually getting used to being happy, and to the changes in her perspective. She's extremely grateful.
One of the Sister Chicks mentioned their best friend's losing her son who was the same age as the Sister Chick's daughter. We often take our blessings for granted, as did many people in The Noticer, until something or someone helps change our perspective.
We discussed how important gratitude is. It colors the was we look at life. (Perspective, again!) We often tend to focus on the things we don't have. We need to remember to count our blessings. We have food, beds, clean sheets and comfortable rooms when so many around the world have none of those things. We can lose water or power for half a day, and feel so inconvenienced. A different perspective reminds us that many people could live on what we waste....
We discussed the difference between intent and actions, and how we need to follow through and DO, not just say and think about what we intend to do. The question was raised, "if there are 5 birds on a power line, and one decides to leave, how many are left on the line?" The correct answer is 5. Deciding to do something doesn't necessarily mean you follow through.
We talked about how we judge some people by their actions, and others by their intentions. We need to consider that some things we dismiss as "mistakes" are actually conscious "choices." We all make choices what to do and not do every day.
We discussed the question posed by Jones, "What would other people change about you if they could." Things they would want changed might not necessarily be bad, but could lead to improvements. This led to a discussion about how good friends are honest, even when it may not feel kind or helpful, and even if it may not initially be well-received.
We discussed the importance of friends, and our gratitude for good friends, and fun opportunities, like book club, to spend time with our friends! We talked about gratitude for freedom to worship God, and how we are seeing our freedoms eroding.
There was much discussion about how much impact someone's efforts in caring for someone, and/or showing kindness, can make. We discussed examples of time when we reached out to others, and also missed opportunities we later regretted.
We discussed what we thought about what Jones left in his suitcase. The seeds were a disappointing choice for the majority. Suggested alternatives, that people wished were in the suitcase, included: empty, the books Jones loaned out, "sky swirling when you looked into the suitcase," a wand--a la Harry Potter(--but they were just kidding about that one!)
Just as perspective was the main thing Jones espoused, perspective was the big takeaway for our group. We never know what might happen. We need to be mindful about counting our blessings. Everything is a matter of perspective!
DID I MISS ANYTHING? WHAT DO Y'ALL THINK ABOUT THE NOTICER?