I was so honored to be asked to be a part of Annie Downs’ launch team for her latest book, Looking for Lovely. I loved Let’s All Be Brave, and was so excited to open up her newest book before its release date. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Looking for Lovely nearly as much as I loved Let’s All Be Brave. I got about 100 pages in before putting it back on my shelf without finishing the chapter.
Annie does a lot of things really well in her writing. Her voice is strong and carries through with each of her carefully chosen words. Her books, this one even more than Let’s All Be Brave, reads like a journal entry or a blog, much like you’re just talking to a friend. There were times when I really loved this style of writing, but other times I was just unimpressed by it.
It might also be that I am just so different from Annie that I couldn’t relate to a lot of her writing. She calls a lot of different friends by name, without introducing them she will just say things like, “I was at the farmer’s market with so-and-so,” again reinforcing that talking to a friend feeling, but she threw so many different names into the book that I just couldn’t keep up. I also just can’t relate to being so extroverted as to have intimate relationships and experiences with so many different people. I just kept thinking, how can you possibly spend time one on one with so many different people? How does this not exhaust you? To her credit, I think for Annie, this way of life and writing is 100% genuine. She really is that extroverted.
The whole premise of this book is about her “broken crazy,” when things were going wrong in her life and she started seeing a counselor. Although she kept using the phrase “broken crazy,” I don’t think I ever actually learned what that meant. The assortment of essays felt loosely thrown together, with this vague thread of this undefined “broken crazy” holding them together. Maybe if I was in the middle of a “broken crazy” season I would understand? From the comments in the launch team, it was clear that so many women could relate, but I was not one of them.
All in all, I think that the things that pushed me away about this book might be the very same things that would make someone else love it. Annie is honest and so genuine in her writing. She makes you feel like you are sitting across from her at a table in a coffee shop, which is a beautiful thing to be able to convey through writing. Looking for Lovely was not my favorite, but I know that there are many other ladies out there who will hear grace and freedom in Annie’s fun and conversational style writing.
Looking for Lovely will be released on April 5th, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.