Book Review: Of Mess and Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

This is the third book by Jen Hatmaker I’ve purchased, but the first one I’ve finished. I also own Seven and For the Love (also on the dreaded TBR pile). The others are not unread because lack of interest, only lack of time and focus. I have enjoyed following Jen on Facebook and Instagram for several years, so I know I love her writing and storytelling. As I did with Girl, Wash Your Face, I enjoyed this on audiobook, even though I also own a hardback copy. There is truly something wonderful about hearing an author read her own words – it just brings more to the telling and enjoyment. Here are my thoughts:


Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life

Amazon Description:  In this highly anticipated new book, beloved author Jen Hatmaker parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere. Whether it’s the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip (“Why are we in San Antonio?”) or the way she learned to forgive (God was super clear: Pray for this person every day, which was the meanest thing He ever said to me. I was furious.), she offers a reminder to those of us who sometimes hide in the car eating crackers that we do have the moxie to get back up and get back out. We can choose to live undaunted “in the moment” no matter what the moments hold, and lead vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives.


Things I love about the Book

1. Hilarity. Literally laughing out loud in my car.

2. Lists! [this is becoming a problem] You may have started to notice a trend. I ASSURE YOU, it is unintentional. I promise I did not know that there were lists in this book. How to wake your children up peacefully from nap time. How to shop at Target [I know, who needs instructions on this one?!? Trust me.] How to get in Bible study time [plot twist in this one]. And, How to get a good night’s sleep with young children.

3. Independent Essays. This book is a collection of essays and I love that. Each essay can stand completely on its own. I loved that each chapter was wrapped up in a nice little bow and we could move on to the next topic. The layout of these chapters was well done, in my opinion – lighter, funnier topics were mingled with the weightier, deeper topics and kept the flow moving along nicely. Early in the book, I did worry that, as most of the first chapters are funny, that we would be left with a second half that was all serious. This was not the case.

Favorite Line

Reweaving Jen Hatmaker

Grace and peace and mercy to you in the beautiful reweaving.  (pg. 250)

This is my favorite purely for the timing I read/heard it. I am in the midst of starting a project that is going to be hard. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to definitely have the pain of ripping off a scab, but the healing with be SO worth it. I will hold on to these words and remember that in so many times, “God rewove what was torn into a stronger version than the first.” (pg. 248)

Favorite Chapter

Chapter 21 – We Were Sort of Medium

This chapter is written as a letter to Jen’s own parents. The balance between gratitude for all they sacrificed and did for her and her siblings is well matched with instances of hilarious truth-telling (for example – “As the sole dependent who hasn’t seen the inside of a cell, I confess I have lied to you about a bunch of other stuff, so let’s just call it even and leave you to bask in the glow of now longer raising us.”) While, obviously, I am not a member of her family, I found myself nodding my head and relating to so many parts of this chapter.

For example: “You believed in us irrationally, which made us accidentally confident. We were solidly in our twenties before realizing we were just sort of medium….”

Side note: this chapter DID make me want to call my parents.

Bonus Favorite Chapter

Chapter 4 – Grocery Store Theology

This one is here purely for entertainment. There are many points when you may find yourself agreeing, while laughing crazily. The reality of the drudgery of weekly grocery shopping for a family of seven makes for excellent comedy fodder.

Super bonus is the Grocery Store Super Sandwich recipe in this chapter. I have made this sandwich for our family 3 times since reading this chapter and it is a HUGE hit with even the 6-year-old.

Extra Resources

Of Mess and Moxie at Thomas Nelson

Interview with Jen Hatmaker on Crumbs + Coffee

Dais Podcast interview with Jen Hatmaker


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