Book Review: Large Family Logistics ** Winner Chosen**

Title: Large Family Logistics:  The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family

Author: Kim Brenneman

Publisher’s Synopsis: In Large Family Logistics, Kim outlines practical solutions she has learned to effectively manage a busy household. This how-to manual is filled with step-by-step procedures, easy-to- understand organizational advice, and a myriad of tips and hints for managing a bustling home with greater efficiency in a way that honors God and builds up family relationships.

Sensible and straightforward, Kim tackles the nitty- gritty, day-to-day challenges moms face and also offers sound counsel on how to plan and accomplish long-term domestic goals. An invaluable home management resource that will equip busy moms to get beyond survival mode and thrive!

Earlier this year, I asked for suggestions for books people wanted to see me review.  The two books mentioned most often were Ann Voskamp’s  One Thousand Gifts and Kim Brenneman’s Large Family Logistics. I bought Ann Voskamp’s book, and while waiting for it to arrive, found the first two chapters and afterward on Amazon.  I won’t be reviewing it.  The moment the book arrived, I sent it to a friend.  I can’t review a book I won’t finish.   I just can’t stand the writing style.  First person/present tense nearly made my eyes bleed.  What others find as lyrical and beautiful made those bleedy eyes roll.  I just can’t appreciate it.  However, considering that almost everyone I’ve heard of that has read it LOVED it, I think that the problem is with me, not necessarily with the book.  Then again, I might suggest reading the one, two, and three star reviews on Amazon.  I found concerns mentioned in those reviews that I wasn’t sure about, but the three star one says something about the last chapter that, if it is true, concerns me greatly.  So, you got a “freebie” review within this one.  Not a great one, and not a fair one because, as I said, I did not finish the book.

So, when this one arrived, I was confident that it was a better match for me.  After all, I’d relate well to the point of the book, right?  The author has nine children… I have nine children… this should be good!  Before I started reading, a friend of mine was over, picked up the book, opened it at random, and read the section there aloud.  My heart sank.  I truthfully avoided the book for a week after that.  What was so terrible?  Nothing… it wasn’t terrible, just so disappointing.  In those paragraphs I learned that to conquer the “art and science of managing the large family” three things I must do is wear a camisole, wear a long skirt when I’m shopping, and wear shoes with good tread so I don’t slip, fall, and drop the baby.  Yeah.  Discouraging.  I’m sorry, I know it is unfair to make a sweeping judgment based upon that, but I wasn’t impressed.

Finally, I made myself pick it up and start reading.  First of all, I have to say that this book really isn’t about “large family logistics” in my opinion.  It’s about “family logistics.”  Very little of what she mentions in this book is specialized to families with many children.  It’s common sense stuff that applies if you have any number of children. Like I said, it’s common sense.  If you have none, you want the book.  No doubt about it, the book covers everything from “make sure you get enough sleep” to “clean the kitchen after every meal.”  Again, not earth-shattering.

What is nice about this book is that it’s all in one place.  It would be more helpful spiral-bound with a hard cover like Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider.  Within the pages of this book are the basics of things I read in Mary Pride’s All the Way Home, Don Aslett’s books, and the “job of the day” system of books such as Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers by Heidi Schapp.

Actually, that is the core of Mrs. Brenneman’s system.  The “Job of the day” thing.  Laundry day, office day, kitchen day, etc.  A job for every day of the week just as our fore-mothers did.  She helps you set up routines if you don’t have them, and makes little suggestions like, “Take fifteen minutes a day to teach whichever child you have that needs to learn to read, to read.”

What the book offers any mom is encouragement, lists of how to get started small and tackle the undone, and a reference for basic information.  Like any self-help book, it won’t do the work for you.  She doesn’t offer a magic solution of clicking heels and murmuring, “there’s no place like a home that runs itself, there’s no place like a home that runs itself.”  Sorry, as with the other dozen and a half books you’ve read on the topic of household management and school management, you’re going to have to get up off the couch and do the work.  You’re going to have to train the kids, follow through, and put the effort in to make it happen.  She hasn’t created an incredible system for taking the work out of work.  Sorry.  Much, if not all, of what she says you can find free on blogs on the internet.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if all in one place.  For those who prefer a book (I am a book fiend), this is probably a better solution though.

Should you buy the book?  Well, that depends.  If you’re overwhelmed and think you need encouragement, maybe.  Other books are cheaper and might offer the same thing.  If you’ve read any housekeeping, homeschooling, organizational, Christian life encouraging books, you’ve probably read the contents of this one.  However, I think you could probably lose a few inches of bookshelf space by replacing the dozen books you’ve got on these topics with just this one if you wanted to spend the money to do it.  Selling those at used prices, you’d probably come close to covering 3/4 to the full price of the book.  It’s not a cheap book.  Even at fifteen percent off the cover price, I still paid over twenty dollars for it.

So, if you’re looking for encouragement to get in there and do your job as “house despot,” this book might just help.  Whether you have one child or twenty, it’ll apply to you.  If you’re looking for something new, however,  I don’t think you’re going to find it in here.  It might be a good gift for a new mom or bride– it’d save them money buying a few other books.  If I sound underwhelmed by it, well, I am, but most of the information in it is sound.  You’ll find the Proverbs 31 woman summarized much as Elizabeth George did in her Beautiful in God’s Eyes, reminders to save for family vacations (and don’t forget the meals), and “Four by four” (four loads of laundry done by four o’clock– on Monday in their house.  Thought you oughtta know.)

I purchased this book for review and am giving it away.  Simply comment below and tell me what the number one thing you hope to learn from the book is.  I’ll even try to reply and tell you if it’s in there!

The winner has been chosen!  Congratulations, Kelly!


26 thoughts on “Book Review: Large Family Logistics ** Winner Chosen**

  1. I want to remember the system that I made when I used to read her blog. :$ How embarrassing is that? I probably know EVERYTHING that is the book, because I used to like her blog. It was helpful to me then and since I, like you, am a bibliophile, I want to hold it in my hands and look through it and try to remember how I tweaked her system years ago to make it work for me.

    I don’t have a particularly large family, only five kids. But I’d still like the book. 🙂

  2. Chautona, its funny because while I agree with your review, I actually like having the book. I was very turned off by the size and binding of the book, its so textbookish. However, I guess I won’t be losing it or bending it out of shape with my constant use. I’m one of those homemakers who needs help in the common sense department. Plus there are times when my brain is so overwhelmed that I just need everything simplified, and that’s what this book does. It is a pricey book, I was shocked by that until it came and I saw how large it is. Also, most of the information is available on her blog.

  3. Thanks for reviewing this, Chautona!
    I remember her saying, years ago, that she was going to write a book, and was surprised to see it in the VF catalog recently! A friend mentioned that she was reading this and I said, “Four loads by Four!” – that’s the one phrase that has stuck in my head from her blogging days, and though we’re about to hit six children, we still don’t come close to producing four loads daily. I guess that is a blessing in itself. LOL

    I’m sticking myself in here for a “I’d love to read the book, too” chance!

  4. I’d like to read this book. I’m always up for seeing if there’s a simplier way to accomplish the things that must be done on a daily basis. I like reading the ideas of others and hearing you say that it’s not just for those with a large family was good. It’s been my “hold up” on purchasing this book. I was “afraid” it would only be really useful if you had 6+ children.

    Thanks for the review!

    Praising Him,

  5. I want the book to tell me how to get my kids to do school while I’m sitting here on the computer.


    just kidding… but i am curious of what’s in there.. THEN I would donate it to the church library — there are several young ladies there – just starting families and needing to be organized. LOL i’d read it first too… probably

  6. Thank you for the review; I’d like to read this book to see if anything is new under the sun of organizing a big family. She must have just one idea that would help me.

  7. I was thinking this might be a good one to put in Lissa’s hopechest even though it might not be as helpful to as I’d hoped. I wonder if there’s any help in there for those of us who have more categories than days in the week.

  8. I want the book because Chautona said I should have it and I believe everything she says. 🙂

    “Like I said, it’s common sense. If you have none, you want the book.”

    Okay then, I want the book. LOL

  9. I had no idea this book was out there till some friends from church came by and asked if I had read the book.
    I had some cards with instructions to the older dc up in areas they could see them.
    I also had a few menus and to do charts up.
    They said these were suggestions in the book.
    Now I am anxious to read it to see if I can get more tips to make the small home with a large family in it run smoother.
    I hope I can barrow it soon.
    Thanks for the review.

  10. I’d be interested in reading it for myself. I DON’T have a large family–so the book potentially being useful to any size family is actually a plus to me!

    It’s refreshing to see honest book reviews. Thank you!

  11. I forgot to say that I am mostly hoping for a “refresher course”. I’m in the “needing some encouragement” category right now.

  12. I’ve been wanting to read this, but not willing to pay the money for it. Thank you for your frank review of it. One think I’d like to learn … more about keeping all the children occupied and on task since a mother cannot be in all places at all times.

  13. I can’t pick a specific thing, but I’d love to read the book and see what I can glean from it. I’m sure Paige would enjoy the read as well. These days she’s all about gaining knowledge and insight that she can put into practice now and have mastered when she begins her own family.

  14. I’m so much more excited about reading it now after your review. I probably have read most of the info on her blog years ago but I am in SUCH need of a kick in the rear that I CAN do this. That’s what I hope to get out of this book – a feeling I can do this and a plan to put in action.

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