3 out of 4 stars
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Among the billions of people living alongside us in this world, I believe there's no questioning the fact that we're going to meet some amazing and inspirational teachers in our life's journey. And Then I Met Margaret by Bob White chronicles the instances in a man's life where he experiences inspiring learning opportunities and the people who taught him. Beginning with tales of his childhood and ending with more recent moments, White does a masterful job at discussing his deep thoughts with the world and passing on life lessons he's had the fortune to learn throughout the years.
I found myself pleasantly surprised by White's tales, the book presenting itself in a clever structure by presenting readers with a myth, or pre-belief, White had before the mentor or teacher he would later name at the start of the chapter changed his viewpoint. This, in particular, was one of the shining piece of the book for me. It gave just the right amount of insight into the lesson we would be reading about to keep us interested. Later, as the chapter ended, White would reiterate the myth he originally believed to be true and then replace it with the revised belief that the lesson had taught him.
In such a small and simple way, White achieved a great deal in promoting the life lessons he cherishes, condensing them into a short sentence or phrase in order to illuminate the pieces of the chapter that brought him to change for the better. And it allowed him to remind the reader of what he learned in that particular chapter of his life.
I enjoyed the majority of White's stories and genuinely felt as though I got to know him a little bit along the way, which made the reading experience even more pleasant. From his Aunt Theresa, a beautiful personality, to Peter from the final chapter I found myself learning quite a lot more than I expected to when I began this book. White's storytelling is great and he really manages to pull the reader into the events of his life.
That said, I felt as though some of the stories and inspirational lessons weren't really as amazing or useful as he may have felt. Granted, this is the sort of opinion that is very personal to people and therefore I cannot discredit how these lessons impacted him, as I'm sure the impact was great. I was disappointed, mostly, in Margaret's story and I feel that this is one of the greatest downfalls of White's book. Margaret was the person who inspired the very title and for the book to be as impactful as I believe White wishes for, she needed to be the most poignant story he had to tell. Instead, she simply represented something that I've heard more times than I could count.
My final complaint is a small one, simply related to the fact that I couldn't help feeling as though White was complimenting himself regularly throughout the book in his attempts to portray how he took the lessons he learned and passed them on to others. These were the moments in his stories that I liked the least, often feeling somewhat off put by how he described his actions. I'm not sure if this is due to the slight arrogant tone it seemed to exude or simply because it felt almost unreal. Either way, it bugged me. One of the more annoying ones was the lesson in practice involving the Gutter Busters.
And Then I Met Margaret was interesting, fun to read, and even had me laughing several times. This isn't the sort of book I read typically and I was glad to have gotten the opportunity to open my eyes to something I don't often spend time with. All in all, I'd give And Then I Met Margaret 3 out of 4 stars. It's a good book, it has some great moments, and I can certainly see it's appeal in the self-help and motivational genres. And if nothing else, it's really nice to get a look at all these interesting people and to see how they've taught those around them.
And Then I Met Margaret
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