I must admit that I had high expectations for The Noticer, by Andy Andrews. Maybe it’s because it was hyped up by the publisher, or because it was written by the New York Times best-selling author of The Traveler’s Gift. One of the endorsers even said, “This is the best book I have ever read in my life.” I was ready for this book to be a page-turner. It wasn’t.
At first, I was immediately drawn in by the initial story when a hopeless young man named Andy, who was living under an ocean pier, encountered an older man named Jones. Jones mysteriously knew everything about Andy’s life, and began to offer him some perspective. Slowly you see hope breathed back into Andy’s life again.
The book, which blends fiction and allegory, moves along chapter to chapter with Jones “noticing” others who feel like there’s no purpose for living. Jones continues to offer each person “perspective” on their situation and always seems to walk into someone’s life when his advice is needed most.
The book’s redundancy began to frustrate me, as well as some of the close connections to other best-selling books. Was Jones supposed to be like “Papa” from The Shack? Jones also gave advice to a married couple that seemed to be verbatim from The Five Love Languages. And, how many times did I have to read how Jones introduced himself as “Jones…not Mr. Jones, just Jones”? I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at times.
Even though I wouldn’t give this book an enthusiastic thumbs up, I did find an inspiring take-away for a new definition of wisdom: “The ability to see into the future the consequences of your choices in the present.”