Review of The Noticer, by Andy Andrews

The Noticer (published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.) is subtitled “Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.” This statement pithily summarizes the philosophy of the title character, a mysterious old man named Jones (“Not Mr. Jones; just Jones”). Jones, who says he has a gift of “noticing things that others miss,” appears from time to time over the course of many years to comfort, counsel, and aid hurting people in Orange Beach, Alabama, by helping them gain the perspective that helps them find a way out of their troubles, or at least makes them better people in the end.

I’m ambivalent about this book. I enjoyed reading it. It’s well written and engaging. It made me think about the importance of perspective in how we perceive (and therefore how we endure) the struggles we face in life. Still – and I admit that it’s probably my own inherent cynicism – I simply had a hard time buying into the book’s premise, even though it apparently is based on a true story. For me, it felt too . . . staged; it tried a little too hard to inspire. The characters into whose life Jones came, starting with the narrator, seemed too obviously chosen to illustrate various struggles that people face. And the perspective that Jones helped them find seemed to lead too inevitably to a heart-warming resolution.

I’m guessing that other readers, especially (but probably not only) Christian readers, will like this book very much and find it very inspiring. It certainly is hope-filled and uplifting. In his conversations with his various new friends, Jones offers thoughts and advice clearly illustrative of Biblical principals; I found no fault with its underlying theology. Perhaps it’s only my own failings that prevented me from reaping the book’s full intended benefit. Notwithstanding that fact, I wholeheartedly recommend this quick read to Christians looking for some encouragement and inspiration.