Book Review: THE STORY OF WITH by Allen Arnold
Well friends, this week I feel compelled to share a book that just might change your life–or at the very least, the way in which you create. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a one-day conference led by Allen Arnold, the author of ‘The Story of With’. Much of his encouraging words came directly from this book, so of course I had to buy it to continue the journey that began that day. During his talk, he made a point of explaining the picture on the front cover of his book, an image that shows the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi. (Repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer, thereby making it more valuable.)
A week later, I attended a church service where the guest speaker discussed the topic of living in peace in a fallen world. And guess what he used as an example to illustrate his point? You got it! Kintsugi! Since then, I’ve seen a video circulating Facebook where, once again, the beautiful art of Kintsugi is described.
Sounds like God has something to say to me, right? So, I couldn’t let this go without passing along my thoughts on how much Mr. Arnold’s book has meant in my life. Read on for the review!
– From the Foreword –
“You are not alone. Whether you’re a free spirit, an office exec, a writer, musician, college student, or tired parent—your soul, like mine, knows life is meant to go beyond rat races and rare applause. This book speaks to that belief. And if you’re not careful, you may find tears warming your eyes as you read because finally someone is naming your weariness, your striving, your questions of why you just can’t quite make it, or the emptiness that hit because maybe you did. It is into those places The Story of With reaches—fusing allegory with application—to offer fresh perspective, restored hope, and a rebirth of creativity.” —MARY WEBER, the Christy & Carol Award-Winning, Scholastic Pick Author of the Storm Siren Trilogy
– The Review –
This book is a little different than other non-fiction spiritual growth books, in that it’s fiction, too! Mr. Arnold opens the book with an description of his former stress-filled life and how he came to believe that along with God, there is joy in creating! The next part of the book is an allegorical tale: the story of Mia, her missing father, and her search for who she really is, as she enters her own Story and faces the scars of her life. After each allegorical chapter, there is a short discussion of how to apply this lesson in the “real world” and what that can look like to us individually. Once the fictional story has come to an end, there is a final chapter to recap all that was learned through Mia’s journey.
I can’t stress enough how much you need to read this book! This story isn’t just for writers (Mia is actually a chef), and it’s not even only for artsy-fartsy type people. This book is for everyone, of any age, gender or background. The understanding that the art of Kintsugi actually makes a broken vessel more valuable is a truth each of us needs to allow ourselves to believe. Our past scars of life make us a greater treasure. They do not diminish us or our place in this world.
Allowing myself to believe and accept that I can create with God and not for the world is one of the most freeing truths I’ve come to learn. This book invites each of us to once again find joy in what we do and to push away the impossible standards the world would hold us to.
Please don’t take my word for it. Grab a copy of this book and find out for yourself just how valuable of a “Kintsugi” creation you are, and how you can enter each and every day with God; never alone.
Happy reading, friends!