Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

Shauna Niequist, Author . Zondervan $16.99 (238p) ISBN 978-0-310-27360-8

Niequist, a 30-year-old mother and first-time author, wants readers to look around their ordinary lives and celebrate all their manifold, quotidian blessings. To that end, she offers 40 short essays, each an exploration of something mundane and wonderful: getting pregnant, throwing parties, collecting champagne flutes. She recalls a breakup that deepened her relationship with God, and explains why moving into a fixer-upper helped her learn that God loves us as we are. A lovely, honest and wistful tone characterizes the title piece, an ode to living a life of gratitude and joy. Essays on a friend's health scare, the power of art and experiencing Christmas with a newborn are especially powerful. Yet Niequist's relentlessly first-person reflections would have been leavened by more fully developing some of the other characters, the relatives and friends who pop up. Sometimes her prose is annoyingly abstract (“if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within and between us”), and there are clichéd observations. Still, with a bit of seasoning (and more vigorous editing), Niequist could be a writer to watch. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/13/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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