Sometimes, All A Person Needs Is A Little Perspective
Have you ever read a book that was just what you needed at just the time you needed it? Well for me, this weekend, that book was “The Noticer” by Andy Andrews.
Work has been really hectic and stressful the past several weeks. I have been so focused on deadlines and time-lines and feeling “out of time” that my brain was fried. I needed a break. So this weekend I spent some time reading, and the book I picked up to read gave me a fresh perspective on life and generally refreshed me in more ways than one.
The Noticer is light read in terms of length (156 pages) but a very deep and moving read in terms of insight.
The Noticer is a story of an old man who blows in and out of people’s lives like seasons, around long enough to notice peoples’ needs, help them notice their needs, and together, work toward a solution for the needs through a change of perspective.
The Noticer begins by hearing and responding to the cry of a young man in desperate need, living homeless and alone under a pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Noticer enters his life and helps him gain a new perspective. You see, that is the Noticer’s MO — “Perspective.” He believes that anyone can change their circumstances by changing their perspective. Its perspective that can turn a meal of sardines and Vienna sausages in the sand into 5 star dining … “surf and turf with an ocean view.”
I found myself laughing out loud, empathizing and even crying along with the different people the Noticer encounters. He always has a non-offensive way of helping folks see their situations and themselves for exactly what/who they are… sometimes helping them see hard truths about themselves, in a non threatening and non judging way. Some of the people and situations “Noticed” in this books are: a couple of the verge of divorce, a young unethical businessman cutting corners to make a quick buck, an elderly woman who feels her usefulness has long passed, a man with cancer literally laying on his death-bed, and a group of well to do teenagers working at a local country club with questions about life, love, and other mysteries. The guidance the Noticer provides is sound, trustworthy, and dare I say “Christ-like.” Although Jesus Christ is never mentioned in the book, the Noticer definitely bares many Christ like characteristics.
For example, the Noticer speaks in modern day parables, the Noticer takes time to get to know and find value in people who otherwise “don’t matter” to the rest of the world. The Noticer has “the hook up” and always seems to find a way to pick up the check, pay the bill, or otherwise meet the practical need of the person he is “noticing” despite not having a paying job. He never seems to age, despite being around for decades. His gender is obviously male, but his ethnicity is hard to define and almost seems to change based on who he is noticing, known as “Jones” to the white folk, “Garcia” to the Hispanic folk, and “Chen” to the Asian folk.
The Noticer is a indeed a very curious fellow, but not nearly as curious as the brown brief case he carries with him. People in town always offer to help him carry it/store it/hold it/stash it away for him but the Noticer never lets loose of this cherished brown case.
Its not until the very end of the story that we discover, together, the meaning inside the case, a scene that brings the entire town together in a soul moving conclusion.
I find it difficult to give you a taste of the story without giving away the entire story. So I will end by saying that, after a harried week of deadlines, time-line, and feeling “out of time” in general, The Noticer gave me my own, desperately needed “change of perspective” toward my own life situations and I now find myself less harried and stressed and more confident in my own new perspective gained from spending an afternoon with The Noticer.
I give this book 5 stars, two thumbs up and a hearty recommendation to anyone who needs a change of perspective.
From the Publisher:
A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.
Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.
Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.
Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.
For more information check out The Noticer Project.