I struggle with the right words to describe The Noticer by Andy Andrews from Thomas Nelson. Is it the beginning of a movement, or a good marketing plan? Is it a feel-good book, or a short story stretched to fill about 150 pages? Is it autobiographical, or just written to sound like it? I’m afraid the latter of each of these questions is my impression.
I like the idea behind The Noticer Project (www.thenoticerproject.com). Think of five people who have impacted your life and write a note of appreciation – on the website, of course. However, as I began reading the book, I began feeling the project was a marketing device for a lack-luster tale.
The story surrounds a man, named “Jones”, not “Mr. Jones”, who helps people change their perspective on their own lives. I kept looking for Jones to point these people to the others who influenced their lives. It wasn’t there. Jones appears and disappears with regularity in the community. Each time to help someone out of a personal dilemma. Jones pointed each of them to their own lives and how to change. Not a bad thing, but not the concept I was expecting. In none of the encounters is any one thanked, except Jones.
The various vignettes of encounters with Jones reminded me of the 80’s television show “The Highway to Heaven” starting Michael Landon. In fact, these short tales could have been story ideas for that program. Unlike “Heaven,” where we knew that Landon’s character was an angel, it is never explicit with Jones in The Noticer.
There are good principles to learn from the stories and from Jones’ philosophies. There are also comments, such as “Deciding to fly away and actually flying away are two very different things,” that are worthy of posting over a desk or on the refrigerator. A Reader’s Guide is included at the end of the book for book discussions or personal reflections.
Although I enjoyed most of the little stories, it wasn’t a page turner. I could have easily set the book aside and not gone back to it. Considering the marketing hype, I was disappointed with this book.