Book Review – 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

The basic summary of this book is that Jen (with the support of family and friends) decided to spend 7 months (with a few small breaks) fasting in 7 categories:

  1. Food – Select 7 foods to eat
  2. Clothes – Select 7 items of clothing to wear
  3. Possessions – Give 7 items away every day
  4. Media – Fast from 7 media/technology sources
  5. Waste – Select 7 habits for a greener life
  6. Spending – Select 7 places to spend money
  7. Stress – Practice the Seven Sacred Pauses and practice Sabbath

This book is written in journal format, with real-time reactions and storytelling as she goes through each category. One of the things I love most about reading from Jen is because she’s funny. She seems honest and genuine, with just the right blend of humor and humility. I got to walk through this journey with her, and I am coming away from it changed.

Click HERE to read what my review categories (below) are all about.

My Review
Snackable? Well, yes and no. The format is really good. Like I said, it’s in a journal format (e.g., Day 1, Day 2, etc.) though she didn’t write every day, it is easy to pick the book up and just read one day’s worth in a sitting. However, different days had different impacts. Some sections were so funny, I could just read and read. Others were pretty meaty, and thought provoking, where I read a day or two and had to put it down for a bit to ruminate.
“Lundie” ending? I guess you could say that? It’s not fiction, so it doesn’t require it. However, I LOVED her conclusion chapter. It made it all the more meaningful to me. She didn’t write this book to teach others what to do. She writes,

“Honestly, we’re not sure what’s next for the Hatmakers….However, even if I had a clear directive, I’m not sure I’d share it here. Whatever God has done or is doing in our family is certainly not a template, and I don’t want it to be….You have an entirely different set of factors. I have no idea what this might look like in your life, nor do I want that job. Your story is God’s to write, not mine.”

Best thing? She was so real, I feel like one of her girlfriends.
Worst thing? Well, I don’t know that it’s really a “worst”. There is so much stuff in this book that I want to do something about that it can get a little overwhelming! But then Jen had the exact same problems that I have when I want to take action, especially in the realm of purchasing food – multiple personalities: Frugal? Organic? or Local? She writes,

“So [Local] is horrified by [Frugal]’s priority to buy cheap, and [Frugal] outright mocks [Organic] and [Local] for spending more….The competing voices confuse me, and I’m not sure which personality should dominate. This leaves me in a mess half the time, and I manage to feel guilty one way or another, no matter which purchasing priority wins the day. I’ve either spent too much, but cheap processed junk, or I’ve subsidized the sweatshop industry. Evidently simplifying can be complicated. GAH!”

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