“Free yourself from the burden to compare and compete.” With a tagline like this, and the title of “Distinctly You: Trading Comparison & Competition for Freedom & Fulfillment”, who wouldn’t be interested in picking up this book and seeing what it has to say? I know I couldn’t resist. Written by Cheryl Martin and published by Bethany House in the spring of 2016, “Distinctly You” attempts to teach readers how to “thrive in [their] God-given uniqueness”. The question is, does it succeed?
Well, the answer to this question is not a simple one. Undeniably, Ms. Martin means to help and empower her readers. This much is apparent. The execution of this goal, however, is not carried out as smoothly or as helpfully as it could have been. Why? Part of the reason is because the author uses numerous instances from her own life and personal experiences to illustrate how everyone should live distinctly. Although likely not her intention, this technique causes the author to come across as prideful and self-absorbed, and gives her free reign to narrate long, in-depth stories from her past that aren’t always interesting. In addition, the book is organized in a way that includes long chapters and a very, VERY few chapter breaks.
Please understand that I do not mean to portray this book as ALL bad, without any merit at all. In fact, I did gain multiple new perspectives that I can use in my daily life. The thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter also provide a great jumping-off point for journaling or discussion. Finally, the portions of the book that did not focus solely on the author’s own life, but instead highlighted a Bible character’s story, were very well-done and thought-provoking. Overall, the truths buried inside this book are strong, Biblically-based, and potentially life-changing. In order to find them, however, readers will need to diligently dig down, through a rather thick layer of unnecessary, tedious, and overabundant words. Only then will the truths become applicable.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”