“The Noticer” by Andy Andrews is an inspirational book that enlists non-fiction
and storytelling to drive its motivational message home.
The book begins with Andrews’ true life story of how he became homeless after the death of his parents and lived under the Gulf State Park Pier on the coast of Alabama. But then, Andrews recounts the tale of how a mysterious and unusual old man, named Jones, finds him under the pier and begins a curious conversation with him. The old drifter claims, that despite all of Andrews’ troubles, in order to change his life he needs a change
of “perspective.” The gentle, yet challenging encouragement from Jones does change Andrews’ life. However, his life is not the only who has been or will be touched by Jones.
Throughout the remainder of the book, there are stories of various encounters Jones has with people who need a change of perspective: a couple who is having marital
problems; teenagers who are trying to figure out what love really is; an older woman who feels as if her worth has run out along with her youth; a man who cuts corners in his business at the sake of losing respect from his employees. Each story contains practical and wise advice from Jones, who becomes a well beloved member of the small coastal community.
“The Noticer” was a very enjoyable read. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jones’ character and his laid back and humble persona. Andrews’ did a fantastic job in describing the conversations Jones has with the people he talks to; I could clearly envision in my mind these realistic and often humorous encounters. However, one pitfall of using the simple and “cool” attitude of Jones (think Jeff Bridges) is that when Andrews wanted to interject one of his self-help principals, he used Jones as the vehicle for that principal, changing his voice almost entirely. For the sake of consistency, it would have been better to keep Jones’ advice simple and devoid of such wordiness.
It won’t take long for the reader to determine that Jones is an allegory for Jesus. The book speaks of Jones coming along at the most unexpected of times and the people he visits have a strange draw to him. They can’t help but open up to this stranger who is prodding them with personal questions. When Jones leaves town, he mentions “planting seeds” and that he entrusts the task of planting more seeds to those he leaves behind.
I highlighted a lot in this book. There were several “nuggets” of wisdom tucked away within the pages. One of my favorites reads:
“If you are breathing, you are still alive. If you are alive, then you are still here, physically, on this planet. If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do. If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do… that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled. If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived. And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived…” Jones paused, waiting for Willow to follow his thought to conclusion. “That is my proof of hope,” Willow said softly.
There are so many more passages that encourage, provoke thought, and inspire. Of course, the life-changing words of Jesus Christ hold infinitely more value and should be
contemplated above all. And, it’s only through a personal relationship with our Savior that our lives can be truly changed. But, Andy Andrews and the metaphorical Jones bring an uplifting and light-hearted look into the perspectives we have on our lives and everyday problems.