The Nesting Place (★★★☆☆)

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Myquillyn Smith   *   Zondervan   *   April 29, 2014   *   208 Pages

I didn’t know anything about Myquillyn Smith, a popular blogger at The Nester, before reading this book. She’s a mom of three, married, and living in a house she rents. Apparently her family has moved something like 13 times in 15 years. They owned a couple of those homes, but mostly they rented. Through it all, she’s finally come to the conclusion that you have to make your home your own right now, even if you don’t own it and even if you don’t have a lot of money. To improve her own space, she’s a big fan of crafting, DIY projects, thrift shops, and cheaper home goods stores–or even just using whatever she already has to change things up (like rearranging furniture, for example).

I like Smith’s emphasis on being content with what you have. And I think her “fixes on the cheap” appeal to younger couples just starting out. I will say, though, that when I began reading The Nesting Place, I thought it was going to be a pretty design book that was light on words and heavy on design inspiration. And though the book does showcase some motivating pictures, it actually focuses a lot more on Smith’s personal story and her Advice on Life than anything else. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it did take some getting used to.

What was especially weird to me, though, was all the religious talk. I get that Smith is a Christian and that God is important to her and her family. That’s totes fine with me. But sometimes her religious perspective would take genuinely good advice and make it, well, awkward. For example, Smith, when talking about the dangers of perfection, quotes Sandy Coughlin:  “Perfection comes from a place of great need–usually the need to avoid criticism and gain praise and approval from others.” Interesting. I kind of like that. But Smith’s take away? Perfection is so self-centered! You need to be thinking of others! Hm, that’s a weird way to reframe it, but okay.

Or later in the book she talks about not apologizing to guests or visitors for the disorder or unfinished-ness of your home. She encourages readers to accept their homes as they are, imperfections and all. Again, great advice. But then she adds, besides, “if you’re married and your husband hears you apologizing for what he’s provided, it could be hurtful.” Um, what? Was I just transported to 1953? Yikes.

In short, this book was engaging and I enjoyed parts of it–but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Honestly, if I had known it was more of a memoir–with all the religious stuff thrown in, too–I probably wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place.

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