Official Review: What Matters Most: Family, Friends, and ...

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Official Review: What Matters Most: Family, Friends, and ...

Post by bookowlie » 29 Jan 2016, 11:52

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "What Matters Most: Family, Friends, and Foes" by Owen Watson.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


What Matters Most: Family, Friends, and Foes by Owen Watson is a non-fiction book about how the author’s experiences have shaped his life. He recounts different people and incidents throughout his life from a strong Christian perspective. Even negative events and foes are viewed as lessons learned. There are inspirational tie-ins at the end of each chapter that relate to his recollections.

When Mr. Watson was ten years old, his parents decided to move the family from a crime-ridden Chicago neighborhood to Blytheville, Arkansas where his grandparents lived. As an adult, he served in the Navy and Navy Reserve, and worked at the Post Office and as a minister. He credits certain people as spiritual guides at different points in his life, including a few colleagues.

I initially thought this book was going to be a memoir. It turned out to be more of a motivational book of inspirational teachings that relate to events throughout Mr. Watson’s life. During the descriptions of various people and occurrences, there is an insertion of religious analysis. At times the book seemed like a series of sermons based on his life experiences.

Mr. Watson’s childhood reminiscences are vividly written. There are also interesting passages about the author’s duty assignments in the Navy and a wonderful chapter of original poems. “Painted Picture Perfect” and “Is this the ‘United’ States?” are standouts, but really all of the poems are well written.

The story moves forward in fits and starts. The first few chapters grabbed my attention, with memories of growing up in Chicago and Arkansas. Then the book branches off with scattered switches between childhood memories, positive and negative experiences in the Navy and other jobs, and religious teachings. For example, the author would write about an incident from 2005 and the next chapter would switch back to events from the 1990’s. He would discuss problems after a promotion and then a flashback chapter would follow about the author’s submarine tender assignment right out of boot camp. The pacing is slow due to these frequent time jumps, interspersed with religious reflections.

The writing style is uneven. The memoir-style parts are written in a casual, conversational tone and flow well. On the other hand, the philosophical sections are long-winded and dense. A few passages are confusing since the author will briefly reference something in his life that wasn’t previously discussed. As a result, I could only speculate about what he might have been talking about. For example, he writes about something that happened while he was working in Millington and then references a particular officer in a subsequent paragraph, even though Millington was never previously mentioned. Also, his “transformation” in Virginia is initially mentioned in passing as if the reader was already privy to this information.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The author’s positivity is apparent at every turn and his reminiscences are well written and relatable. However, the story didn’t flow well due to the issues I mentioned. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy memoirs viewed through a religious lens.

******
What Matters Most: Family, Friends, and Foes
View: on Bookshelves

Like bookowlie's review? Post a comment saying so!
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
gali
Site Admin
Posts: 34463
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 8
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Bookshelf Size: 1885
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gali.html
Reading Device: B00I15SB16
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by gali » 29 Jan 2016, 14:13

Great and insightful review! Not my cup of tea, but I am glad you found it interesting overall.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 29 Jan 2016, 14:18

Thanks Gali. I can't say it was my cup of tea either, but it was still thought-provoking.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
anonanemone
Posts: 561
Joined: 07 Sep 2015, 22:30
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 0
Favorite Author: So many...
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 24">Tinder Stricken</a>
Currently Reading: Outland Exile
Bookshelf Size: 910
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-anonanemone.html
Latest Review: "The Shark in the Park" by Mark Watson
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by anonanemone » 29 Jan 2016, 14:32

Sounds like the general idea could be good if the book didn't go in quite so many directions (e.g. poetry, philosophy). Good review!
The world lives between those who say it cannot be done and those who say that it can. And in my experience, those who say that it can be done are usually telling the truth. --Lord Vetinari (Discworld, Raising Steam)
Latest Review: "The Shark in the Park" by Mark Watson

User avatar
bluemel4
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 5220
Joined: 01 Mar 2015, 14:43
Favorite Author: Anne Bishop
Currently Reading: The Dark Tower, Books 1-3
Bookshelf Size: 344
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bluemel4.html
Latest Review: "Severed Threads" by Kaylin McFarren
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
fav_author_id: 6086

Post by bluemel4 » 29 Jan 2016, 14:33

Very well-written and balanced review. This book is not my cup of tea either.
"Life is a journey, not a destination" --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Latest Review: "Severed Threads" by Kaylin McFarren

owensbook
Posts: 21
Joined: 25 Jan 2016, 22:56
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by owensbook » 29 Jan 2016, 15:56

Really appreciate and enjoyed reading the review. The only correction I will state is that of being on a 'submarine' - I never was stationed on a 'submarine' nor is it stated in the book. Other than that, I do appreciate the constructive criticism in moving forward. Thank you much - bookowlie.

User avatar
Shelle
Posts: 305
Joined: 26 Jan 2016, 14:52
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading: For the Love
Bookshelf Size: 57
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-shelle.html
Latest Review: A Positive Thought a Day Keeps the Negative Away by Dr. Curtis E. Smith
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by Shelle » 29 Jan 2016, 16:19

Great Review! It sounds like it was written in the style that I think - jumping around from today, years ago, something some one once told me, a neat book I read, a trip I'd like to take, that time my sister was really mean, and so on and so on. I imagine it would be confusing to read and the farthest thing from linear. It does sound like it covers some topics I'm interested in, so maybe I'll check it out.

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 29 Jan 2016, 16:23

owensbook wrote:Really appreciate and enjoyed reading the review. The only correction I will state is that of being on a 'submarine' - I never was stationed on a 'submarine' nor is it stated in the book. Other than that, I do appreciate the constructive criticism in moving forward. Thank you much - bookowlie.
I thought the first assignment was on a submarine tender in Italy. I thought that meant a submarine - my mistake. I need to look up the definition of a submarine tender!

-- 29 Jan 2016, 17:27 --
anonanemone wrote:Sounds like the general idea could be good if the book didn't go in quite so many directions (e.g. poetry, philosophy). Good review!
Thanks Anonanemone. Actually, the poetry was a separate chapter near the end of the book, so it wasn't a distraction at all. Overall I did enjoy the book and appreciated the fine writing.

-- 29 Jan 2016, 17:30 --

Bluemel and Shelle - Thanks for the positive feedback. Many parts of the story were interesting and thought-provoking. I found myself still thinking about the story the day after finishing the book, so I guess it is my cup of tea after all!

-- 29 Jan 2016, 19:47 --
owensbook wrote:Really appreciate and enjoyed reading the review. The only correction I will state is that of being on a 'submarine' - I never was stationed on a 'submarine' nor is it stated in the book. Other than that, I do appreciate the constructive criticism in moving forward. Thank you much - bookowlie.
I apologize for misunderstanding what a submarine tender is. I thought it was a type of submarine. I just looked up the term - it is a type of boat or ship that supplies and supports submarines. I am going to contact the admin to see if I can add the word "tender" after "submarine" in my review for accuracy. Again, I apologize for assuming a submarine tender was a type of submarine.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
TrishaAnn92
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3991
Joined: 20 Oct 2013, 15:59
2017 Reading Goal: 90
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 16
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... =2595">The Messenger (2)</a>
Currently Reading: A Game of Thrones
Bookshelf Size: 197
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-trishaann92.html
Latest Review: Purgatory's Angel by B Hughes-Millman
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Publishing Contest Votes: 20

Post by TrishaAnn92 » 29 Jan 2016, 19:40

Great review bookowlie! Not really up my alley but I'm glad you found it interesting!
‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin



"I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
-Harry Potter

owensbook
Posts: 21
Joined: 25 Jan 2016, 22:56
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by owensbook » 29 Jan 2016, 19:57

bookowlie wrote:
owensbook wrote:Really appreciate and enjoyed reading the review. The only correction I will state is that of being on a 'submarine' - I never was stationed on a 'submarine' nor is it stated in the book. Other than that, I do appreciate the constructive criticism in moving forward. Thank you much - bookowlie.
I thought the first assignment was on a submarine tender in Italy. I thought that meant a submarine - my mistake. I need to look up the definition of a submarine tender!

-- 29 Jan 2016, 17:27 --
anonanemone wrote:Sounds like the general idea could be good if the book didn't go in quite so many directions (e.g. poetry, philosophy). Good review!
Thanks Anonanemone. Actually, the poetry was a separate chapter near the end of the book, so it wasn't a distraction at all. Overall I did enjoy the book and appreciated the fine writing.

-- 29 Jan 2016, 17:30 --

Bluemel and Shelle - Thanks for the positive feedback. Many parts of the story were interesting and thought-provoking. I found myself still thinking about the story the day after finishing the book, so I guess it is my cup of tea after all!

-- 29 Jan 2016, 19:47 --
owensbook wrote:Really appreciate and enjoyed reading the review. The only correction I will state is that of being on a 'submarine' - I never was stationed on a 'submarine' nor is it stated in the book. Other than that, I do appreciate the constructive criticism in moving forward. Thank you much - bookowlie.
I apologize for misunderstanding what a submarine tender is. I thought it was a type of submarine. I just looked up the term - it is a type of boat or ship that supplies and supports submarines. I am going to contact the admin to see if I can add the word "tender" after "submarine" in my review for accuracy. Again, I apologize for assuming a submarine tender was a type of submarine.
Bookowlie - no problem at all, an honest mistake. Again, thank you much for the book review.

-- 29 Jan 2016, 20:03 --

As the author of What Matters Most, I sincerely hope that anyone who is not simply looking for a good read but realize the need of motivation/inspiration and personal growth would surely check out this book for themselves. I truly believe that you will learn something that will give an enlightening perspective of whatever situation you're faced with, rather in your own life or the lives of close relatives and friends around you.

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 29 Jan 2016, 20:18

I agree. The book is inspirational. I think most people would find the content relatable and useful in their own lives.

-- 29 Jan 2016, 21:25 --

TrishaAnn, Thanks for the kind words. The book is a combination of a memoir and a self-help, motivational book so I think it will appeal to a wide range of readers.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
kimmyschemy06
Posts: 2428
Joined: 20 Oct 2015, 20:49
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 20
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 168
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 136
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 582
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kimmyschemy06.html
Latest Review: Spyder Bones by Oliver Phipps

Post by kimmyschemy06 » 30 Jan 2016, 08:26

I love motivational books. However, the time jumps may make it difficult for me to follow. Still, I hope I get the chance to read this book. Congratulations to Owen Watson!

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 30 Jan 2016, 09:10

Kimmyschemy, I think you would enjoy this book. The author is humble and thoughtful in his writing, which is refreshing. Too often authors write books where they brag about their accomplishments and try to justify their less than honorable behavior. Thankfully, this is not the case here.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

owensbook
Posts: 21
Joined: 25 Jan 2016, 22:56
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by owensbook » 30 Jan 2016, 14:12

Kimmyschemy06 and bookowlie - Thank you both for the kind words! My only hope is that this book can help others in some way through their life journey.

User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7947
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
2017 Reading Goal: 52
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 327
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookowlie.html
Latest Review: The Little Scrub Christmas Tree by Dr. Raymond Dunn

Post by bookowlie » 30 Jan 2016, 18:04

You are most welcome. I think motivational books are great since readers will always find something positive and useful to take away from reading them. It might be something an experience they can relate to, a philosophical point they find comforting, or just the positive theme that motivates them to do better. Well done!
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”