Monday, April 11, 2016

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

Downs takes us through many of her life experiences. She is a different person today, she writes, because of suffering and the transformation that followed. She explains how she found beauty in the mundane, collecting moments that matter. She encourages us to do the same.

For this senior citizen, this is a book that did not grab me. Downs rambles through her life, writing about many of her experiences. We read about her being overweight as a child, about the TV programs she liked to watch, about her seeing a breath-taking sunrise, about the experience and feel of the Ryman in Nashville, her adult onset allergy to dairy, wandering through a farmers' market, tears cried over being single, taking friends honky-tonk hopping in Nashville until 2 A.M., the sports she likes, doing her nails, eating sushi, getting a tattoo, and much more.

I almost felt like I was reading a stranger's journal. I might liken reading this book to having a stranger go through a photo album, explaining each of the photos, reliving their meaningful events. Downs does draw some spiritual insights from sharing her experiences but that did not seem the major focus of the book. Downs writes, “...this book itself, in some crazy way, is a collection of what God has shown to be lovely.” (174)

As a senior citizen, this book did not inspire me. I was raised in an era when such intimate stories were not shared with strangers. This book may be meaningful for younger people, those more used to being moved by honest and revealing stories from strangers, such as through digital media.

I would recommend this book to young people, perhaps young single women. Downs notes that she is still a work in progress and is not finished by any means. Younger readers might well identify with her.

Food for thought: “If you aren't experiencing pain, you aren't experiencing beauty.” (76)

You can listen to podcasts by Downs and watch a video here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Annie F. Downs is an author, speaker, and blogger based in Nashville, Tn. Read more at and follow her on Twitter @anniefdowns.

B & H Publishing, 195 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Icon Media for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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