Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Book Review

I just finished a wonderful book called The Noticer by Andy Andrews. The Noticer is a remarkable, magnetic story, told as a narrative by the author mostly in the first person. The author pulls you into the book which reads like a series of short stories about an older man named Jones and his interactions with the people in and around Andy's hometown of Orange Beach, Alabama. Jones (not "Mr.", just Jones) notices things. He pops up from time to time to help people get perspective. He gives the characters perspective, but he will also give the reader perspective if you'll let him.

The author is referred to in some places and reviews as 'like Og Mandino' which is reasonably accurate. I haven't read Mandino in 20 years, but I remember his books. This book is encouraging and fun to read. I intend to read it again for fun since it's not too long either (another Mandino similarity).

Throughout the book, you will learn about Jones' escapades and interactions in the lives of several different, very interesting people. The characters are believable and described without boring detail. The reader learns about the characters as they interact rather than through lengthy introductions.

Like I mentioned earlier, The Noticer will change you if you let it. I can see how some people might make light of the style of the book or it's writing. But there are compelling truth's in the book that everyone can use to be a better person. Jones has a very thoughtful interaction with Henry Warren, an overworked, unethical, succeed-at-any-cost, type A personality. Henry gets two chapters, making him a major character. In the second chapter, Jones explains to Henry that a mistake can be "covered" by a simple apology, but if we chose to mistreat people, and some for many years, that wasn't a mistake; that was a choice. For choices, apologies won't get the job done. Forgiveness is required and that takes time. I was convicted by the people I've apologized to when my actions offended them.

A chapter earlier (Chapter 7), when Jones is first giving the Jones says:
Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention... Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? Yet intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.

The depth of the argument coming from this older man in the book will catch you in your personal rationalization; that is unless you're in denial or you never have this problem. It's even more challenging when I think that I "intend" so much and "act" so little. (Sheesh!)

Finally, at the end of the book there are questions for use by a small group or for personal thought and consideration as you read the book. Since the ideas Jones introduces in each chapter are thought-provoking, the questions help formulate the thoughts. When I re-read the book, I'll be going over the questions in more detail.

I recommend this book. I'll be getting others by the author and giving this as gifts to some friends. The Noticer will give you perspective. Take advantage of the gift and use the perspective to change your life.