Something of a surprise, this wholesome and
kind-hearted parable, about a family who are heavy on love, but light on shared
goal or direction. Written by husband-and-wife
team of writers and spiritual family therapists, Derek and Amy Weichel, I would
guess it was probably composed as a sidenote accompaniment to their day-to-day work. For those readers of a Christian faith who,
like the (semi?) fictional Richardson family in this book, feel their family
has lost its way a little, it is something of a must-read. For others, like me – those without faith –
it is something of an insight into the warmth which forms (or should, if it doesn’t)
the foundation of a Christian family.
What it really is, is the Weichels’ lesson
program delivered in the format of a fictional narrative. When the family meet the Millers, who act as
mentors to other Christian families, and confide their concerns, the lessons
begin, with a keen focus on placing God at the centre of your family unit. This is where the true format of this book
comes through and, from this moment, it begins to present itself unambiguously
as a self-help or therapy guide, portraying each chapter as and ending it on one
of the seven lessons in the program.
It is a nice book to read, both for those of a religious
or non-religious nature. There is much
love in this book, and little room for discord.
It is perhaps true that some might find it a little twee for their
tastes. I would also suggest this book
is likely aimed predominantly at an American market; there is something of a
patronizing tone in the way the lessons are being delivered by the mentoring Miller
family, which I couldn’t really see going down that well on my own, less
sociable side of the pond. Of course, though,
it is what it is: a fictional mechanism for the mentoring Weichels to promote
their program, delivered via the medium of a narrative fable.
This was a pleasant book and, without wanting
to reduce the fiction genre generally to an unwholesome and salacious dreg-pile,
it does make a warming and welcome change to find oneself so engaged by
something so well meaning and good.
Although I’m not a Christian, or indeed ever likely to adopt any faith,
even I can see the coveted universal truth in this desire – indeed, this
necessity. The family’s problems are not
what many would call major (rather more of the first world, emotive kind), but
so what; we all have things in life which make us unhappy, often on a
collective basis – this book just shows that there is always a way to turn unhappiness
around, and at least delivers a solution to one of them, which can be practised
by any family, God or not.
In : Book Reviews