As Is (Krista Finch): Review

7 June 2010

Christopher J Wiles

pastor | writer | speaker

As you read the book As Is by Krista Finch, you come away feeling as though you’ve known the young writer for many years, and the book’s near-instant intimacy feels less like a book and more like good conversation over coffee (or tea, for us non-coffee types).

The title of the book is quite equally a summary of its content. The stories and poetry of the book are united only by their ability to describe the nature of everyday life. The following quote is both representative of both Finch’s content as well as her excellent writing style.

“…if we’ll take what life gives, grace will find us – in all her fierceness and splendor, dressed in chain mail and armor, ready to pin a sprig of lilac on our collars. But she only comes to those of us who find ourselves in the places where brokenness and rejoicing coexist. Places where bitter death tolls harmonize with strains of celebration. Places where broken bones dance to the trumpet’s blast.” (p. 35)

The book is classified as a “spiritual memoir.” Being more descriptive than prescriptive, the following is not meant as a critique as much as some things that readers of this blog may wish to be aware of.

What you’ll find:

a series of brief vignettes, loosely arranged into various sections, each of which is introduced through poetry.

a colorful writing style that employs both warmth and humor. She later cites the influence of Raymond Carver (p. 131), at which point I understood where her penchant for alliteration and adjectives came from.

stories that are completely independent of one another, though holding in common the common theme of raw simplicity and “commonplace glory.”

What you won’t find:

explicit spiritual/theological teaching or advice. The book is classified as a memoir, and is to be read as such.

a book that is more of a photo album than a film reel. The subject matter changes literally every three pages. For this reason, the book is better read in pieces than trying to read through it like a novel.

“varnish.” Finch writes with refreshingly raw honesty. I, for one, appreciated such an approach, allowing readers to understand that Christianity is not necessarily a clean, polished, have-it-all-together kind of life. Still, more sensitive readers may want to be aware that in at least two places, Finch uses what might be called “swear words,” which I mention now only to remove potential complaints later.

Conclusion:

Some readers may also note that in one brief section, Finch described her issues with denominationalism (these readers will also be quick to notice the few Rob Bell quotes that appear in the book). I’d like to politely remind her that not all us Calvinists are the rabbit-cage-fed, punch-you-in-the-throat types, but at the same time I can respect her spiritual journey. Her work is entirely descriptive, and never prescriptive, so I was able to hear her viewpoint without feeling forced to share it.

And the fact that the work is descriptive rather than prescriptive also means more subjectivity in its evaluation. How well the book is received will depend greatly on how well readers can appreciate the book’s style, and how well they can relate the author’s journey.

I for one greatly enjoyed the book. Finch writes from an obviously female perspective, the book may be read by both men and women, and the very nature of the book’s content invites readers from various parts of the spiritual journey to share in the experience of “commonplace glory.”

Ten percent of the book’s sales go to support International Justice Mission and the fight against slavery.

You can visit the author’s website at www.kristafinch.com, or buy the book from Amazon.

7 June 2010

Christopher J Wiles

pastor | writer | speaker

Chris is a writer and speaker. He currently serves as teaching pastor at Tri-State Fellowship and as a research writer for Docent Research Group.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!