I wasn’t sure how I felt about A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman throughout my reading of it. I purchased this book after skimming its rave Amazon reviews, but as I read through it, I found myself not entirely joining in with the reviewers’ passion for this work. I really loved the message of this book, and I found Freeman’s points to be valid and thought-provoking, but I found the writing style a bit on the wordy side.
When I read Multiply by Francis Chan, I found it helpful to ask and answer some questions as to my thoughts on the book; that book was also a bit unexpected in its format, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I’ve undertaken the same style here as I process what I read in A Million Little Ways.
What is the book about?
If I were to identify a summary statement for this book, it would be this: “Every moment is packed with artistic possibility because, as an image bearer with a job to do, there is potential to reveal the glory of God in every circumstance, no matter how I feel, who I’m with, what my hands hold, or what’s gone wrong. God with us lives within us. And he will come out through us in a million little ways” (A Million Little Ways, p. 191). The premise of the book is that, as those who bear the image of Creator God, we are called to create, and in that creation, we reflect God to the world around us. The book is divided into three parts: 1) Who is the Artist? 2) Uncover the Art You Were Born to Make, and 3) Release the Art You Were Made to Live. This promo for the book does a great job of highlighting the major themes of the book (I actually really love this video):
Who is this book for?
This book is for anyone, but I think it will especially speak to women who feel their day-to-day life is not contributing a great deal to the Kingdom, and to artists who are hesitant about sharing their work with the world. The majority of the examples are of women, and motherhood is referenced often. The message of the book is certainly applicable for anyone, but the style and illustrations would probably speak more to a female audience.
Favorite parts of the book?
There isn’t a particular part of the book that I think back to as a “Yes! I loved that part!” portion. Overall, the message of the book was encouraging and has made me think about how I can live out my own passions, and live on purpose. This weekend I watched a film with a similar theme, and the combination of the book and movie are causing me to examine how I think about my work, and how I can put more of my heart into it. Throughout the book, the Scripture references were interpreted in thought-provoking ways I really appreciated.
Least favorite parts of the book?
Again, there wasn’t a particular part of the book that stands out to me as something I disliked or even disagreed with. The writing style was a bit wordy for me. At the close of the book, the author summarizes each main argument of her work, and I feel I could have read that and understood the messages of the book. Considering the reviews on Amazon, however, this seems to be my personal preference – others love Freeman’s writing style, and it was compared to Ann Voskamp’s work (I have not read anything by Voskamp).
Would you recommend this book?
Because of the great reviews, I actually went into this book thinking I might purchase it for some friends’ birthdays coming up. Now that I’ve read it, I think I would gift A Million Little Ways to others, but maybe not as widely. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, and there are probably a few people I would specifically recommend it to, but for the more practical, give-me-exercises-to-walk-through sort of person, I would probably recommend it with the disclaimer of my thoughts on the writing style.
I do want to stress that I loved the message of this book, but the style did not click with me. If you like a more poetic, descriptive tone, this might be the book for you, especially if you’re an artist with a fear of sharing your passion with the world, or if you feel you have nothing to contribute to the Kingdom. A Million Little Ways is an encouraging read.