Pout or Purpose

I like educational books that contain stories in them. I find that the stories help to personalize the message, and are often fun to recount to others to help get a point across. So I had great hopes for Pout or Purpose. This book attempts to explain how relationships, career, conscience and spirituality all need to be met - by having a fox and pig go around talking to various animals. It seemed like a fun idea.

Mr. Fox wants to eat the chickens - but Mr Pig is in the way. So in order to distract and get rid of him, Mr Fox decides to go show Mr Pig how to be happy. He talks to a dog, two horses, a bunch of cats and an owl to learn about the various aspects of human life. Along the way Mr Pig learns many things - and so does Mr. Fox.

Here's the problem. First, Mr. Pig is so whiney, and Mr Fox is so slimey, that I really never care if either of them "fix". The critters they talk to are so one dimensional that none of them are believable. The conversations are an odd mixture of simpleton story and high vocabulary, with tons of really inane puns thrown in. It makes for a lot of eye rolling on the part of the reader while reading the story.

You could say that most books on self-help contain primarily "obvious instructions" like "take care of yourself", "exercise regularly" etc. etc. This is true. However, most of the books provide you with reasons or context that make those items apply directly to your life. Maybe they give inspirational stories of real life people whose lives were changed by doing X or Y. Maybe they list 10 easy ways to incorporate simple task Z into your life every day. Maybe they give a bunch of studies that show how AA done in certain ways made a huge difference.

What you get in Pout or Purpose is a fox talking to a dog. The dog says she barks when the kids pull her tail. The fox says "Jeez you should communicate when you're upset." The pig goes "Oh neat!" And they move on to the next point. It just isn't very inspiring or helpful in any way.

Also, I do a ton of things online. When I read a book, it's to take a break from my online work. I sat down to read this book and was going from pig to dog to cat and getting through it. All of a sudden they said "Now you have to go to website zzzzzzz and take the online poll before you can continue." Talk about a stopping point! No warning that I recall said this was coming up. For people without online access, they would have to mail in for this survey and wait for it to show up in the mail. Why couldn't it just be in the book? I kept going without my survey, but I felt very discouraged by this. The following pages were just a listing of "If your survey said you mostly enjoy career things, then focus on career tasks". It was extremely generic.

In general, this just wasn't a book I clicked with. Maybe it'll appeal to some people, if they are very fond of bad-pun-loving farm animals.

Buy Pout or Purpose on Amazon.com

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