The book: (from the publisher) Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all – until, suddenly, she wasn’t. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be done.
What Falls from the Sky is Esther’s fiercely honest, piercingly poetic account of a year without Internet – 365 days away from the good, the bad, and the ugly of our digital lives – in one woman’s desperate attempt at a reset. Esther faces her addiction to electronica, her illusion of self-importance, and her longing to return to simpler days, but then the unexpected happens. Her experiment in analog is hijacked by a spiritual awakening, and Esther finds herself suddenly, inexplicably drawn to the faith she had rejected for so long.
Ultimately, Esther’s unplugged pilgrimage brings her to a place where she finally finds the peace – and the God who created it – she has been searching for all along.
What Falls from the Sky offers a path for you to do the same. For all the ways the Internet makes you feel enriched and depleted, genuinely connected and wildly insufficient, What Falls from the Sky reveals a new way to look up from your screens and live with palms wide open in a world brimming with the good gifts of God.
The author: Esther Emery used to direct stage plays in Southern California. But that was a long time ago. Now she lives with her husband and three children off the grid in a yurt, tending to three acres in the foothills of Idaho’s Rocky Mountains. She writes about faith and trying to live a fearless, free life at www.estheremery.com.
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Life/Inspirational/Memoir
Especially recommended for: Millennials, wired-in women (and tired of being so), and those intrigued by the idea of taking basic steps to simplify life.
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Recommendation: Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the Internet? Do you ever dream of disconnecting? I do. This book is about one woman who didn’t just dream it, she did it. On that basis alone, I wanted to know more.
My interest in Esther Emory’s story was immediate, not just from the subtitle and lovely cover, but also from her opening pages in which she unspools her attention-grabbing story. I wanted to find out where this compelling storyteller would take me, what I could learn from her and what that might reveal about her and me and everyone else along the way.
Though it’s not billed as a memoir, I believe it should be. It felt very memoir-ish to me in its deeply personal, introspective nature. Esther’s writing voice is wry, subtly funny, wise; her prose is crisp and clear. Her book reminded me somewhat of Grace Thornton’s I Don’t Wait Anymore for its deep authenticity and gritty unorthodoxy.
After reading Esther’s story, I realize that while I’m sometimes tempted to disconnect from social media, I don’t generally wish to disconnect from the Internet entirely, as she did. And that, probably, is quite simply because I’ve never been as wholly plugged into it as she apparently was. A result of our slightly different generations? (I was born about a decade before her.) Probably. I suspect that her experience is one many millennials (and those who follow) could relate to far more than I.
But here’s something that did resonate:
“…as I begin my Year Without Internet…I’m just trying to find a way to live a life that matters. I’m trying to find a way to feel my life.”
To feel my life. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? If we’re honest, I think it is.
I like that.
What sticks with me, too, is how out of this woman’s very broken life, there sprang something deeply beautiful: a new, vibrant faith in Jesus Christ, the restoration of a marriage, and an entirely new way of doing life.
I like that too.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing me this book free of charge. All opinions are mine.
After words: Have you ever gone for a time without social media or the Internet? How did it make you feel?