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Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and Authenticityby Amy E. Spiegel

 My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by B&H Books
Available on: Paperback, Kindle

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First of all let me start this review by clarifying that I got the Advanced Reader’s Edition, Uncorrected Proof of this book via NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley.

Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and AuthenticityI was attracted to this book by the cover and title. The cover is delicate and feminine. It screams “estrogen filled book”! Ha ha ha Sure, it’s pink (not a color I go crazy for) but it’s nice to look at and it made me want to read this.

The title hooked me instantly. As a perfectionist, I was excited and hoped to read and find out how to get rid of the trait that puts a little stress in my life sometimes. But IMHO the title is misleading because it doesn’t tell you that this is a Christian book, with a very strong Christian point of view. I don’t usually read books that are out of my faith, so I was a little skeptic when I realized this was a book based on a faith other than mine. But I decided to give it a try, be open-minded about it and who knows maybe I could get something from reading it.

Once again, I repeat, I didn’t read the final product of this book, so my experience from it definitely is different from those who read the end product. From what I read, I can say that it was an ok experience. Nothing life changing or spiritually enlightening. Not that I expected to have an outer body experience or hearing choirs of angels while reading this, but I read it and it was ok, period.

The 13 chapters all start with a quote from the author’s favorite books, that I couldn’t relate with the content of each chapter. The author gives us insight to her life as a Christian mom. Her constant visits to Target or grocery stores with her loud misbehaved kids get to be a little repetitive for my taste. There is a lot of quoting from the scriptures, and references to pop culture which ironically she advises to carefully avoid. I don’t agree with her advice of not having a TV in the house; that is a little too extreme in my book. I also don’t agree with her attendance of services at churches other than that of her faith. If she is really convinced on her beliefs, why does she take her kids to masses and other services? Isn’t that confusing for the kids she wants to raise in her faith? Anyway, she tried to squeeze in a little sense of humor which was a little refreshing. I laughed out loud after reading this:

You are pregnant, with child, in the family way. People, some of whom you hardly know, will begin to comment on your belly size. They might even give it a rub, like you have strapped an animal of some kind in your front side and given total strangers permission to pet you at their leisure.

This book is definitely for Christian married women. I’m sure they would find some spiritual comfort with this book. As for me, I am not Christian, not married and not a mom, but I can say that what I got from this book is:

The definition of perfection is different in the eyes of men than in the eyes of God. Being perfect in the eyes of men is stressful, vain, self-centered and egocentric. Only God is perfect. Base your worth on His approval, not on that of others. All we have to aim is to be His good faithful children, a reflection of His grace in this world.

Other ideas I got from this book (they might be spoilers…so if you want to read the book, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you ;))

  • Motherhood is exhausting, hard, tough but rewarding.
  • Letting go of perfect means:
    • Hanging on to your faith, to whichever higher being you believe in. Let Him be the driver of your life. Don’t let any outside influences get into your mind, for you know that if you live your life following your beliefs, your reward in the afterlife will be great.
    • Don’t try to do more than what you have the time, resources and energy to do. “Part of growing up is narrowing your life choices to a manageable size.” Multitasking is not a good idea. And when you can’t do everything in your list, don’t suffer, let it go. Accept the fact that you can’t do everything. You are not perfect. Embrace it. (I already knew this but the book reminded me of this)
    • If you choose marriage, know that it’s your path for sanctification not for happiness or pleasure. It’s not always peachy and you have to learn to live with all of what it implies.
    • People who annoy us are not obstacles in life, they make us better human beings in the eyes of God.
    • Dress according to your values and beliefs. Don’t dress for others…for vanity. Embrace your body and your body changes. If you’re a mom, accept the fact that your body is that of a mother. Don’t be influenced by outside opinions of what a perfect body looks like.

The next time you are heading out the door, pause at the mirror and make sure that what you see reflects your purpose and value. That doesn’t mean donning the burka, but it probably doesn’t mean having words on your butt either.

  • Do what you like but don’t be narrow-minded. Always try new stuff in order for you to know what you like and what you don’t.
  • If you pray and feel your prayers unanswered, know that sometimes God leaves “some desire unfulfilled so that we can learn to cling to Him more closely.” 
  • You might not think you are perfect but you might be perfect in the eyes of others. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  • Give up your own expectations; you will be given greater ones in return.
  • Have diversity in your friendships and always take time for yourself, “balancing time you spend with or without people is crucial for mental health.”
  • Listen to advice but take only what you need.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars because it was an ok book to read. I had a hard time trying to relate to some parts, but other than that it was ok. I’m sure christian readers will give this book more stars. My review comes from a sincere non christian reader approach. I’m sure the author would appreciate knowing what readers really feel about her writings. After all, if she wants to put her ideas out there for EVERYONE to read, she has to know what EVERYONE gets from her work.

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Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and Authenticity

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I received a copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links as stated in my disclosure policy.