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!