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No matter how great or how terrible life is going, one thing is for sure – it's going to change. Sometimes it happens in an instant – you get married, you have a baby, you lose a loved one, you lose a job. Sometimes, it happens over time – you drift away from a friend, you discover you're not the same person you used to be, you find yourself struggling with doubt. But no matter what, we must deal with both the change we choose and the change foisted upon us.
Jenny Simmons is no stranger to both kinds. In this thought-provoking book, she shares her final days as the lead singer of the band Addison Road and the subsequent journey that led her through seasons of change, lostness, and finding new life. The result is a painfully vulnerable, laugh-out-loud, honest, and hopeful reflection on life's uncertain times. The Road to Becoming invites you to view your not-how-I-planned-it moments as holy seasons that didn't catch God off guard at all.
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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Kaitlin5 Stars Out Of 5I laughed and cried!!November 17, 2015KaitlinQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0When I first read the write-up for The Road to Becoming by Jenny Simmons, I have to say, I scoffed. Jenny was the lead singer of the band Addison Road who travelled the United States and were pretty big stars. What I scoffed at was the sub heading for the book; Rediscovering Your Life in the Not-How-I-Planned-it Moments and the thought that this woman would know anything about living a life that the rest of us could relate to!?!!?
And eat that scoff I did!
Jenny writes one of the best stories I have read in a long time! She tells the true tale of her life but so real, so relatable, that I was laughing and crying more times then in all other books I've read combined!
The story takes place over about two years of her life, with nice references and walks down memory lane that make us, the reader, feel like she's a good friend. The whole story reads like a conversation over coffee and I imagine Jenny to talk much the same as she writes. She tells of how she walks through various seasons focusing on the loss of dreams, the burying of life plans, the desert wondering when we don't know what lies ahead, and then finally, the coming through it all into the still yet unknown but God lead and life changing path that is before us.
I related waaay to much to her writings and often felt like I had written whole sections myself! I shared many of her humours renditions of life's events with my husband and he laughed along with me. Jenny's story telling is brilliant and her openness refreshing and encouraging!
I don't think there is anyone I would not recommend this book to! But I would certainly pass it a long to anyone who's ever dreamed and seen that dream die and wonder what lies ahead. To anyone who's looked at life, seen the hand dealt and wondered what they are to do with it all. And I'd certainly pass this book along to anyone who's struggling with where they are at in their current season.
It's a charming, endearing book and one that I sincerely enjoyed!
I received this book, from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.
MercyAge: 18-245 Stars Out Of 5BecomingNovember 13, 2015MercyAge: 18-24Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Jenny Simmons is an amazing storyteller. She openly shares her own struggles and pain in order to invite others along the journey to becoming. I appreciate how honest she is and how easy it is to identify with her feelings. We may not all be in a band living life on the open road from tour to tour, town to town, but in our lives we all experience feelings of disappointment and apprehension for the future.The writing style flows really well and keeps you turning pages for more. This book is a wonderful mix of parts both serious and humorous. I couldn't help but enjoy this book, and I think that others will too.
I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for my review.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Embrace the DetourOctober 2, 2015Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The prosperity gospel is deep in my bones not that I technically hold with any kind of blab it and grab it theology or the idea that God owes me a BMW. I do know better than that, but truly, I just want to be able to tell you that God has always answered my prayers the way I would have expected, and that I understand His ways.
Reading The Road to Becoming, I felt as if I were looking over Jenny Simmonss shoulder as we struggled together to untangle the cause and effect of righteousness and blessing, the mystery of dreaming big dreams for God and then mourning the destruction of those dreams.
Do I trust the Storyteller when the narrative arc seems to veer off course? Jennys story began with singing and a well-laid plan for a musical career. When she and her husband formed the band, Addison Road, c.d. sales, songs on the radio, and a full schedule of concert tours indicated that success and prosperity were just down the road. Who could have predicted that the road instead would be paved with set-backs, disaster, and a season of loss?
Jenny opens her heart to her readers, revealing insecurities about her role as a wife and mother, doubts in her relationship with God, and questions about her calling. I would challenge her to bring her language choices into alignment with the sweet and sincere heart that shines through in her ministry to other women, but I also applaud her skillful weaving of a broad spectrum of quotations from well-known authors in which words from Henri Nouwen, Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, and Richard Foster (among many others!) appear like seasoning in a fragrant stew.
Jenny emerges from her season of wondering ready to embrace and to give thanks for the less-than-perfect. The truth is that on the road to becoming, mountaintops are few and far between. The landscape is varied, but often ordinary and occasionally treacherous. The challenge presented in The Road to Becoming is to stay on the road and to embrace the detours, knowing that an all-wise Guide is leading the way.
This book was provided by BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
CallieAge: 18-24Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Just Okay For MeSeptember 24, 2015CallieAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3I feel like I am not up on Christian pop culture.
This doesn't really bother me, most of the time, and I think it can actually be an advantage when it comes to reviewing current Christian books. My mind is not already made up about the author, and my opinion is not biased by previous fandom.
I recently read The Road To Becoming by Jenny Simmons, who was a member of the band Addison Road. I had heard of Addison Road before, but I can't tell you any of their songs (though I imagine I have heard some on the radio). I just picked up the book because the back cover description sounded interesting.
The Road To Becoming is Simmons account of the breaking up of her band, and the subsequent journey she has traveled to become okay with an unknown future. I thought she had a lot of thoughts in this book that might be encouraging to someone who is finding themselves on an unfamiliar road. Her writing is very engaging - she is a great storyteller. I love it when authors don't just tell a story but paint a picture, one that includes all five senses, and I think Simmons has a talent for that. The writing itself was enjoyable to read, and generally encouraging.
Sort Of Negatives
I am not going to say straight-up negatives, because overall I thought this book was alright. But to me, the ending was too inconclusive. On the one hand that is real-life, but on the other hand it was a bit disappointing. Yes, real life doesn't always tie up in neat little bows, but I kind of feel like books should.
I was confused on the purpose of the book. Is it supposed to be on Christian Living, or is it a memoir? I wasn't really expecting a memoir, but that's the category into which I would put this book. Sometimes I think publishers need to stamp "memoir" on the side of the book so I know what I am getting into, or maybe I just need to read between the lines of the back cover description a little more. I think if I was a big Addison Road fan before reading this book, I'd find it much more interesting. I was expecting less memoir, more practical advice, so it threw me for a loop.
I have mixed feelings.
The writing was engaging and overall enjoyable to read, but that said, after finishing the book it wasn't my favorite.
Keep in mind that I was reading this at nine months pregnant, when I am more apt to be irritable in general, but in some ways her style of communicating rubbed me the wrong way. Even when I am not pregnant, using the words "freaking" or "frigging" as adjectives is a pet peeve of mine. Really skilled writers can communicate frustrations without pseudo-cussing, so while it might make her writing relatable to some, it annoys me like pet peeves do. I thought she could have had more beautiful lines/paragraphs if she took those words out.
I also feel my inner tension rising when an author keeps touching on the gospel but not out-and-out explaining it at any point. I can tell Simmons is mostly writing to people who are already believers, but I think if a book is going to keep referencing elements of the gospel, it probably would be beneficial to also explain it in full for anyone reading who might not know what the gospel is.
This probably wouldn't have bothered me so much except for her suggestion in the last chapter that Jesus doesn't promise to give us answers. I think that is definitely true when it comes to our own personal stories, but I disagree with that in a general sense. The Bible (God's Word, and Jesus is God, so it's His Word too) gives us plenty of answers to life's questions, and to the question of how to be saved (believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again).
This line in particular bothered me: "These days I get the feeling that the way of the cross is less concerned with answers and more concerned with Jesus" (pg. 224). I am really not sure what she is getting at with that line. Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). If we want the truth (which I equate with answers), we need to look to Jesus and His Word, and He will guide us into truth.
We may not know the answer to every question, but I think it is a mistake to imply that we can't know the answers to any questions. I have a problem with Christian authors downplaying the importance of truth and playing up a mystical version of Christianity where no one really knows anything for sure. I am not saying that's necessarily what Simmons was trying to communicate, but it all came across wrong to me.
Bottom line: Overall, I enjoyed this book alright, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting and wouldn't make my must-read list. The indefinite ending, both in the storytelling and theology, kind of ruined it for me.
Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
love2read4 Stars Out Of 5A lovely readSeptember 18, 2015love2readQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Jenny Simmons, the author of this precious book I was given by Baker books, was a lead member of the Christian band, Addison Road and shares with us the ups and the downs of being in a band as well as the heartache of leaving the life you knew. In this book, Jenny talks to you as if you were a close friend and share with you what it feels like to be lost an without purpose. The book is an easy book to follow and is quite relatable. She is a humorous writer and I enjoyed reading all the thoughts that went through her head. When she writes, you can easily picture what she is talking about. Picturing her walking through Michaels with her toddler made me smile as she described her attempts at trying to live a Martha Stewart life. A good book for those feeling like they are lost. 4/5 stars!
This book was provided to me by Baker books in exchange for my honest opinions.