The Looking For Lovely book release is TODAY!
If you know me, you know that I love books (and that I quite regularly have an average of five at the ready). So I jumped at the chance to be a part of Annie Downs’ book launch team for her new release, Looking For Lovely.
I received my advance copy last month, but I held on to it to read at the beach last week so that I could really slow down and enjoy it. Coincidentally enough, in her book, Annie writes about escaping to the exact same beach I was at. I’m sure that’s some sort of “sign”, but I’m horrible at interpreting those types of things. Anyway, we probably just both like the beach.
I have to admit, this is the first of her books that I’ve read, so was a little behind the eight ball when it comes to Annie and all that she is/does/believes in. I’d only followed her on social media and read her blog. Like her presence online, the best way I can describe this book is refreshing.
That’s the word that I kept feeling over and over while reading Looking For Lovely. It’s really refreshing. In each chapter, Annie writes about something she finds joy in, places and things where she looks for lovely. My first thought before diving in was, “is this going to be a compilation of really long blog posts about pretty stuff that they printed in a book?” It’s so not that.
Within the first few chapters, Annie reveals some pretty dark places she’s faced down, and some shadows from her past she still has to wrestle. I was impressed with her bravery, sharing what she did, and in a few cases, I found myself getting a little choked up because she was so candid (it really hit me in the feels). The chapter that especially broke my heart was the one where she explains the moment when she was a young girl and she discovered she wasn’t the same anymore, and the new her “wasn’t okay” (think puberty). From then on she decided she wasn’t pretty or thin enough, and was covered in shame. Shame. It gets me every time. I feel sick just thinking about it because I feel like so many of us can relate to that.
Throughout the book, Annie refers to the period of time she’s writing about as her “broken crazy”. None of us are exempt from having to go through a period of broken crazy. However, most of us won’t have the chance to write about it. Nor would we. It’s tough to lay your heart out there like Annie does, but because she did, you connect with those raw, human, broken, flawed, perfect, beautiful, awful, gentle, angry, hurt, fabulous parts of yourself.
We sometimes need to be reminded that we’re all part of a collective group of perfectly imperfect people. Reading Looking For Lovely feels like you’ve sat down to coffee with a really close friend, who trusts you enough that she’s as vulnerable and real as she needs to be, and allows you the space to say, “me too”.
For my Christian readers, you’ll love this book. Annie talks a lot about her relationship with God and how it helped her through the “broken crazy” and finding God in every day. If you’re not terribly religious, no worries, there are plenty of great nuggets of happy for everyone throughout this book. If you live in Nashville, you’ll appreciate all the local references, and if you don’t, by the end of the book you’ll want to come for a visit.
Let me know if you pick up a copy of Looking For Lovely, I’d love to know what you think 🙂