LIFE IS MESSY by Matthew Kelly (2021): A Review

I have been reading so many novels lately that I turned to this little book that was donated to my Little Free Library as a change of pace. I do not read as much non-fiction as I should, but I have improved over the years to a fan of good non-fiction writing.

The author assures us that just because our lives are MESSY, we aren’t doing it wrong. He states that there is no way to prevent the messiness of life. “It’s what we do with the mess that determines everything.” He points out that “You don’t have to have it all together. Nobody has it all together.” In this book, Kelly helps the reader accept the mess. He even goes so far as to say, “…the radical acceptance of self, others and life may be the beginning of wisdom.”

We are wounded and broken, but that’s ok. Kelly even suggests that we could be put back together in a way that makes us more beautiful than before. He brings to mind the Japanese concept of Kitsug, where artists fill in the cracks and flaws of art objects with gold, making them more beautiful than the original. “We are each others wounded healers, ” he writes. Kelly grapples with his own messiness in his life and shows his findings from the struggle. Dealing with the question, “Will the hurt ever stop?” Kelly gives aid and comfort to his readers dealing with daily struggles and issues.

I found several things/sections to share with my students (ranging from 21-45 years of age), very applicable to writing and even some life lessons learned by the author. This is a very helpful book.

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Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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