The In-Between by Jeff Goins (164 pages)
Reviewed by Chrissine Rios MA, Writing Tutor
Who should read this book? Anyone who has ever been in a hurry, said, “I can’t wait!” or feels ready for a change but is unable to do it just yet.
Summary: Goins illustrates his hurried attitude in a candid memoir featuring his life’s bigger moments from studying abroad to having a baby. His narrative takes readers to the streets of Madrid, across America in his band’s van, and through Illinois cornfields on a train home for the holidays. Meanwhile, his reflections reveal another journey in progress. While his inner dialogue leading up to his marriage proposal, and later, his son’s birth expresses the tender and uneasy emotions that would resonate with any reader who has lived through similar life changes, his personal growth also becomes more apparent as his indwelling narrows in on the hand-holding and the ultra-sound blips—the more ordinary and fleeting moments in the present instead of the event up ahead. Then, when Goins sits at his ailing grandfather’s bedside, essentially waiting for his grandfather to die, he hears his grandfather pray the only prayer Goins had ever heard his grandfather say, and this is a pinnacle moment for Goins who awakens to the in-between, realizing these moments, not the big events, shape who we are.
Why I picked this book: I had already been inspired by Goins’ blog and motivational tips for writers, so I knew it would not disappoint. Now, I’m not a pray-er; I’m a good-thoughts thinker, but Goins even made his prayer epiphany one I could relate to. Read the book and judge for yourself, but I’m pretty certain that if I weren’t a member of the “In-Between Insiders”—a generous giveaway Goins offered with all pre-ordered books—and I hadn’t already known that Goins’ had a Christian following among his wayward writer fans like me who have latched onto his message that our writing matters and tribe awaits, I would not have given a second thought to the few other times God comes up in his is memoir because they are subtle and fleeting moments too. In fact, I found his anecdote about his father raising him not to be a “Jesus freak” rather refreshing, and telling. Goins is a powerful writer who has masterfully integrated his faith and art to express a clear message about how we can embrace who we are and what we are doing today, a message that has certainly benefited me. Living like the journey is more important than the destination is not a new idea, but I need all the help and inspiration I can get. Do you? Read the book. Maybe it will help you start writing again, too.
Favorite quote from the book: “All we have are these moments. What we choose to do with them is what we choose to do with our lives.”