Debbie Macomber's success as a novelist mirrors that of Jan Karon in this one respect: both found popularity among Christians only after they made their names outside the Christian publishing industry. Romance writer Macomber is a New York Times bestselling author many times over and has sold more than 60 million books, most of them part of a dozen or so series such as Cedar Cove, Midnight Sons and Heart of Texas.
Her most recent series, Blossom Street, is set in a yarn store, and the books in that series, coupled with Macomber's own interest in knitting, provided the framework for KNIT TOGETHER, the author's first nonfiction title. The book weaves together examples from scripture; stories from Macomber's own life, particularly her struggle to pursue her dream to be a published writer; and, in large part, the teachings of inspirational and motivational leaders like Rick Warren, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar. Her purpose is to help you find your purpose, and to that end Macomber organizes her chapters around the various components of life that you have been created for: purpose, dreams, risk, success, balance, relationships, the Word, work, laughter, gratitude, blessing and worship.
Macomber accomplishes her goal to varying degrees. The strongest chapters are those in which she writes about the difficulties she has experienced; the most enjoyable sections are those that contain delightful anecdotes about her family and amusing stories about the mail she has received from readers. Occasional sidebars that relate to knitting are guaranteed to resonate with the many knitters who are her regular readers.
The book loses its appeal, however, when Macomber lapses into a sermonizing tone, implying, if not outright declaring, that you must do this or that to be a success either in the world or in the kingdom of God. At times, hers comes across as a one-size-fits-all brand of Christian spirituality. Likewise, her reliance on the principles taught by motivational speakers gives the impression that following their methods, and only their methods, will lead you to realize your dreams. Much of the content is repetitive, and the illustrations she uses are so familiar that they feel dated. In fact, they are; the content was pulled together from articles, devotionals and talks that Macomber has produced over the years. Updating the text with fresh illustrations would have helped considerably.
Readers who became fans of Macomber's books before knowing of her strong faith are those most likely to find this book to be of value, as will newer Christians who are unfamiliar with some of the timeworn content. Likewise, Macomber's longtime readers are bound to be drawn to KNIT TOGETHER simply on the strength of the author's name, while many newcomers undoubtedly will discover Macomber on the strength of a finely crafted foreword by popular Christian writer Liz Curtis Higgs. Others, however, would be wise to skim the book before deciding to buy it.
Reviewed by Marcia Ford on November 13, 2011