Book Review: It's Not Okay with Me*7:00 PM
If you follow my other blog, Perfectly Ambitious, then you already know that I've been partnering with Heart for Africa on various product and book reviews. So it's no surprise that I said yes to reviewing the book that got everything started!
Normally, I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction books, but I've been trying to read more of them lately. Mainly because they're full of inspiring stories, but also because I'd like to learn more about the world that I live in and not just the worlds we create. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it's a prompt on the #ICBReadingChallenge either!
The world-changing events of 9/11 became the catalyst that first sent Janine into a deep depression and later to the darkest parts of Africa in her search for the meaning of life. What happened next was a roller coaster ride from owning one of the largest marketing companies in Canada to the streets of Africa where she found herself standing face to face with the AIDS pandemic and trying to understand what to do with 15 million orphans who are left in its wake. Her story is brutally honest and will take you straight to the heart of the issue of Africa's great need. It's Not Okay With Me provides truth and insights into Africa in a way that is fresh and filled with hope. All we need to do is say, "It's not okay with me, either" and then act.
As I mentioned earlier, non-fiction is definitely not my preferred genre. However, Amy Poehler and Janine Maxwell as slowly converting me! Honestly, I can't tell you the last time that I read a nonfiction book except when I was a child. I just don't gravitate towards them; but now, I'm definitely going to make an effort to look for them during my book hauls!
With that being said, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with Heart for Africa and their team! It took me longer than planned to finally read the book, but I loved it so much that I finished it in just one day! Of course, the fact that it's roughly 200 pages is a big part of that :)
As far as the physical book goes, I liked the design a lot at first! Unfortunately, after further inspection, I can't say that I feel the same way. For instance, it looks like the front cover text is off centered. Not only that, but there were a few design issues on the back cover as well. Similar to the front cover, it looks like the text and other design elements have been shifted to the right on the back cover. The photo caption isn't quite centered and even the text above the ISBN box is a little bit messed up. Lastly, I would have preferred that the book blurb and review quotes have been justified rather than aligned left. Honestly, those things are small, but if they were fixed, I think the cover design would be perfect!
When it comes to the interior design, I really liked the way that the book came together. I enjoyed the publisher's choice of white pages and the inclusion of images from the author's trip! Not only that, but I also really enjoyed the way that the author separated sections of each chapter as well as the quotes that they pulled from the text and displayed for readers. I think that was a great design tool to help break up some of the more emotional pieces of the story, giving the readers a moment to stop and reflect.
In addition, the book was designed to read smoothly. Many non-fiction/memoir authors struggle with keeping the train of thought rolling and I think that Janine did a great job keeping the reader focused. She shared a lot of information, but it didn't read like a text book and instead, it was an exceptional read! Janine and the publishing team really organized the book flawlessly. Even when the timelines overlapped between chapters, it was still clear what was going on and when. Not once did I question the chronological order of the book or the general timeline.
Now that I've discussed the book's design/layout, it's time to get into the nitty gritty details of Janine's writing! Truthfully, I loved it! The book started out with a chapter regarding the tragic events that occurred on 9/11. And even though I know what took place that day, it was incredible to read the thoughts of someone else going through the motions of that day as well. Especially, because Janine is actually from Canada and was visiting in New York at the time. I hadn't really considered what it must have been like for someone visiting from another country, so Janine's story definitely made me stop and think!
That was a big part of It's Not Okay with Me too! No matter what I'm going through, each part of this book made me reflect on what's going on, not only in my world but in the world around me. For example, chapter three really hit home for me. I had previously questioned what I was meant to pursue in my life due to all of the changes that my chronic illnesses had brought unto me. So when Janine asked, "How many gifts does God give us that we keep tucked away as our little secret?" I couldn't help but reevaluate my gifts and how I'd been using them.
Crazy enough, I think God spoke to me through this book, and I think he finally showed me how to share my own story. Personally, I've always wanted to write about my experiences and the obstacles that I've gone through, but I've never really known where to begin. Yet with each page that I read of Janine's book, all of the pieces started to fall into place. And by the time that I was done reading It's Not okay with Me, I actually managed to outline three different chapters for my own memoir!
In regards to this book, I think that I could go on forever. I was constantly taking note of various stories and emotions that I felt that I could relate to and the list is pretty long! And guess what?! This book, just happened to come with an educational DVD in the back! So if you were interested in hearing more about Janine's work and the organization that she created, it is the perfect tool to do so!
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to everyone! Whether your a Christian, a philanthropist, or just a fan of reading, I think you'll enjoy this book. Of course, consider the note on the back of the book, "This book is not for the faint of heart," because it's definitely not! It's Not Okay with Me will make you rethink your life's purpose, question your faith, and want to lend a helping hand!
If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here.
If you want to stay connected with Heart for Africa just use the following links:
Have you read It's Not Okay with Me? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments!
* This book was provided by Heart for Africa in exchange for a review. However, all opinions and comments in this review are 100% my own. *
* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *
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