Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I am so grateful to  Harvest House Publishers for the ARC of this book, via NetGalley. This review expresses my personal opinion

I must say I didn't have expectations regarding this book. First time I heard of Ben Courson, so I was waiting to be amazed. And I was, what a great book!

Growing up in the church so many times I ask myself if preachers or, leaders in general, had normal struggles as anyone else has. And one of the things I truly love about this book is the level of honesty and transparency. Especially about his depression. I remember when I was seventeen I had a period of depression and I was not able to be honest and had to deal with tons of guilt, I was Christian: How is it possible to feel that way?. So to read his story  I  truly found it refreshing and so necessary in this era that religion in many churches still the center of them. And so many are still looking for a life with meaning.

In my opinion, I believe this book is more than just hope and be just an Optimisfist. It's to live a full and complete free life in Christ.  I think this book could and should be read for anyone, but is important to have an open mind. Ben Courson, is different. And in my opinion, that's ok. The book is a good balance, it has a good verse, great quotes, and several funny personal situations.  If someone asks me, give me just three words that describe the book I will say: Uncommon, Unexpected and Unusual. So, take the leap and read this book. You won't regret it, and you know it may change your life.
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Optimisfits: Igniting a Fierce Rebellion Against Hopelessness Ben Courson

2.75 stars

"God does not endure you. He enjoys you."

Ben Courson presents his case as to why you should live life joyfully and let go of the hopelessness that the world around you wants you to believe in. He defines an Optimisfit as someone who doesn't conform to society, who lives life like it's an adventure, who lives with wild abandon, who lives with childlike wonder, and who has unapologetic optimism. I'll be honest, I don't know how to feel about this book. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't like it either. Ben Courson has a very aggressive and slightly judgmental writing style while also retaining the amount of whimsy and try-hard creativity of a twelve-year-old. I liked the try-hard creativity to an extent, but I found myself raising an eyebrow when he called Jesus a straight-up savage (which he is, but our slang of today makes it sound childish and not as epic as it truly is). I will say that if you are someone who loves religion more than relationship, then this book will definitely make you feel condemned and called out (which may be what Jesus is trying to speak into your life, so don't run away too hard from this book).

If you are looking to challenge your theology, this may do it, but it does not bring in much Biblical text as evidence. Every now Courson references a Psalm without listing it (which I found to be very unimpressive and unimpressive in correlation with the complexities and diverse array of arguments he was attempting to make). I could also do with having to read about his "Squad", but it is nice to see an author who is so heavily impacted by the community of Christians he has surrounded himself with and the positive impact they have on his life. I enjoyed that aspect, but I wish that Courson was more vulnerable and less of a dude-bro who wants to lay down the facts. In all honesty, his facts had a lot of holes in them, but I did enjoy his references to pop culture and historical figures in both philosophy, literature, and history. However, this book feels more like it is targeted towards a high school student or somebody curious about breaking out of the religious mold of Christianity. A lot of his commentary on God aligns with my own (without the juvenile usage of slang, of course), but I think that this book will help many young adults find their way to relationship in a challenging and uplifting way.

Here's my personal favorite quote that made me giggle for way too long:
"She eats rainbow sandwiches for lunch and dines on Pegasus steak."

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.5

Plotastic Scale: 3

Cover Thoughts: This cover is gorgeous. Kudos to the designer because wow.

Thank you, Netgalley and Harvest House Publishers, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Ben Courson is a very well read author and quotes many in his book. He emphasizes forgiveness, hope and moving forward.  Love this quote in Optimisfits. “People are not your dictionary. They do not define you.”  We are reminded Life is short.  Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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I knew that I wasn't the target demographic for this book. Even still I did glean some great takeaways for myself.  I've been looking for some books on hope specifically as well as not being afraid to be who you were made to be to pass along to the millennials in my life. This book makes the cut. 

I especially like Ben's writing style, it's almost like you're there having a conversation with him. I think this book will hold the attention and interest of younger readers long enough for them to get hooked on the message. It's a great jumping off point for the message of hope.
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In an age where hope and discussion about the future seem in short supply, Ben Courson has written a book celebrating exactly that. Recommended reading for those wanting to generate optimism for themselves and their communities.
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"Optimisfits: Igniting A Fierce Rebellion Against Hopelessness" is a call to reach towards something that seems to be in short supply: hope! Author Ben Courson explains what an "optimisfit" is in this funny, honest read. He shares stories of his Squad of very different friends and how they continue to enjoy this life to the fullest. Ben also provides anecdotes from people in history that he feels embodies the spirit of an optimisfit. The question then remains: are you willing to become a "hope dealer"?

This book's message is something that will reach across generations. With record numbers of suicide, depression and anxiety that plague our world today, "Optimisfits" offers a better way to face struggles: honesty and vulnerability within safe circles. There are also encouragements throughout the book to remain different, to stand in our own uniqueness amidst assimilation, and to seek God's will for our lives, even when they do not look like the lives we envisioned. 

I have not read any of Ben's work before, but the idea that we can be open about where our battles lie, admit we don't have it all together and still be effective in God's community are important messages. We don't have to be perfect to make a difference or to offer hope. Often we think we are the only ones struggling and turn to isolation. This book will encourage the reader to seek friends who can support you through tough times, as well as happy times. There is also encouragement to seek, savor and enjoy the wonder that surrounds us in the world. 

Ben writes in a very down to earth way with a maturity beyond his years. He is connected to a generation that thinks outside the box, does not want to conform to the societal norms, and wants to make a true difference as a result of doing things differently. I noticed throughout the book that some see optimism as an idea that isn't based on the real world, you CAN be optimistic, while at the same time, admitting life isn't always perfect. It means latching onto the hope we have in Christ and pushing that hope outward, changing the culture in the process. 

I was excited to read an early review PDF thanks to Harvest House and #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Optimisfits exudes such joy it's almost as if the pages glow with enthusiasm for life. It often circles back to the joy of Jesus (something many people would not think about) but is not really an overtly Christian book. It's about outrageously enjoying the one life you have. I have often felt I don't fit but now I want to be an optimisfit.
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