Just like the dandelion in this picture, we are fragile. A gust of wind could easily blow at any moment, revealing our imperfections. Now we’re left to resemble a misshapen weed. Can we be okay with being less than perfect? Amy Spiegel, wife of Jim Spiegel who co-authored The Love of Wisdom explores this in her book, Letting Go of Perfect.
When I first opened this book, I fell in love with the creative titles which were clever spin-offs of mostly recognizable classics. Instantly, beloved classics flooded my memory with others added to my “to-read list.” Here’s an example: Pride and Prejudice was rewritten as the title “Pride and Providence.” (I’m listing the title chapters below with their corresponding literary inspiration with a very brief description so you can have your own glance at the book.) The book itself mainly centers around being a wife, mom, and Christian woman in the 21st century. Although we didn’t quite fit the target audience, the book still held interest.
Funny & Wise Illustrations
The most relatable chapter to us was “Cries and Punishment.” Here, Spiegel writes about an all too relatable human experience: pain. It is also here that she gives a thought-provoking but laugh-inducing illustration:
Amy Spiegel describes her house as a “bad haunted house at Halloween.” Her kids get their thrill from seeing a look of fright on their mom’s face from their ‘sneak-attack’ scare. Apparently, their clunky steps give a clue-in to Amy that their ‘sneak-attack’ is behind her back. Every time, she waits for the “boo!” Even though she isn’t the least bit surprised, she doesn’t want to squash their “A” for effort sneak attack so she’ll feign fear.
On the flip-side, whenever she honks the horn at her kids, they jump. No matter how many times she’s laid on the horn, a jump is always the reaction. So what’s the difference between Amy Spiegel’s children ‘scaring’ her with failed attempts glaringly obvious and her successful horn blaring that always immobilizes? Maturity. She has the experience that they do not. The heavy-footed boogeyman is always easy to recognize.
So how does this relate? Spiegel connects this illustration to us. Why after all of the warnings in the Bible do we still yell at God that such-and-such crises were a surprise? Why didn’t He warn us? Yet He did- numerous times. Yet we don’t have the experience and maturity level that Christ did to recognize they will indeed come. Even though Christ emptied Himself when He came to earth, He still had greater wisdom than us- wisdom that knew trials would reoccur and would only end with the passing of this earth and the ushering in of the new heaven and new earth.
Through the Chapters…
Through the chapters, you’ll get to know Amy Spiegel as a down-to-earth ex-hippie, and hilariously funny woman of faith who happened to fall in love with an “abstract” Professor of Philosophy from the same school she attended. I do wish some of the chapters tied in some of the elements of the inspired literary source (i.e.: mentioning elements of Great Expectations in the chapter “Greater Expectations.”). This is simply a wish of mine that I’m sure would most likely not be an issue for most out there. 😉 Letting Go of Perfect was an overall light and fun read with wonderful nuggets of truth coated with wit.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Spiegel that was filled with truth and humor:
“Can you imagine how boring most of the disciples’ conversations were to Jesus? Here is the Son of God, full of the knowledge of the universe, and Peter is telling Him about all the good fishing spots on the Sea of Galilee or John is asking Him to explain the meaning of a parable just one more time. It’s worse than Einstein being stuck as a preschool teacher. But I am sure Jesus took the time to listen and re-explain because Jesus is a perfect friend.”
A Quick Look At The Chapters
1.A Series of Fortunate Events Inspired by: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Quick Summary: A very enjoyable intro on Amy Spiegel’s personal “Fortunate Events” that led to the meeting of Mr. Spiegel, finding faith, marriage, and the unexpected happenings of life.
2.Vanity’s Flair Inspired by: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
Quick Summary: Centers around the all too common female struggle with vanity.
3.Cries and Punishment Inspired by: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Quick Summary: Delves into the problem of pain in our lives.
4. Chaotic House on the Prairie Inspired by: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Quick Summary: The chaos of family life with Spiegel breaking down several points to try to resolve some of the chaos for herself and anyone reading the book.
5. Greater Expectations Inspired by: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Quick Summary: We hold onto more expectations- for better and worse.
6. Pride and Providence Inspired by: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Quick Summary: This chapter centers around friendships, even mentioning the tenuous relationships of females.
7. She Knew She Was Right Inspired by: He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
Quick Summary: Even with all the knowledge that is available at our fingertips, we will still mess up. This chapter touches on the information overload in our society and how it can sometimes become a detriment along with the blessing.
8. Wives and Girlfriends Inspired by: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Quick Summary: Specific advice to the dating ladies with another set of specific advice to the married ladies.
9. The Gracious Giant Inspired by: The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Quick Summary: This chapter focuses on growth throughout the years and the need for grace- even for an obstinate child who doesn’t seem deserving of grace.
10. The Well-Tamed Mind Inspired by: A Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
Quick Summary: A chapter on the good kind of counter-cultural.
11. Our Devilish Friend Inspired by: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Quick Summary: This hones in on our sad pursuit of the “cotton candy pleasures” of the world that is such a contrast to God who has the best dessert in mind.
12. The Mysterious Secular Society Inspired by: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Quick Summary: The confusion of modern-day society and what to do with movies, TV shows, books, etc. What should be appropriate for children to view or even for us?
13. Oh, the Places You’ll Hide Inspired by: Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
Quick Summary: Zeroing in on the right type of resting.
I received this book for free from B&H Academic and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”