Book Review: Is This It (Rachel Jones)

Book review by Cassie Watson

Buy Now: Is This It

People might scoff at the idea of a quarter-life crisis, but your twenties can be a disorienting and overwhelming time. We’re meant to follow our passion while finding a steady job so we can buy a house. The world tells us to date around; the church tells us to settle down. We feel busier than ever before but we’re not sure anything we’re doing really matters.

How should we think about all these issues as Christians? Rachel Jones is here to help with her book Is This It?. In 12 short chapters, Rachel covers everything from friendship to self-doubt to the meaning of life. She brings the extraordinary hope of the gospel to our ordinary problems. 

Is This It? is easy to read and packed with humour—Rachel is clearly in the trenches with us. But the theology is anything but fluffy. She doesn’t anchor our hope in making it to a more stable and prosperous thirties. Instead, she offers the eternal hope of the gospel: “Where you’ll be in 50 years time is uncertain. Where you’ll be in 500 years is not” (36). 

In each chapter, Rachel encourages us not to see the issue she’s covering primarily as a problem, but as an opportunity to know and love Jesus more. Through sharing her own struggles and failures, she shows practically the difference Jesus makes to whatever life has to throw at us. In it all, we can trust that God is sovereign and will use our trials to make us more like his Son.

Some chapters took surprising turns. In the chapter about singleness, she mentions how other Christians don’t always respond to single people in the most helpful or understanding way. I expected an encouragement to forgive and bear with the offense, but Rachel goes one step further and turns our focus back on our own sin:

When I started writing this chapter, I was sure I was going to include a list of all the cutting or careless remarks that anyone has ever made to me about being single. Maybe you carry a similar list around in your head. But I haven’t written that list. Because truthfully, I’ve said cutting careless things on nearly every subject under the sun—and there are definitely people who have gone lonely on my watch. (136)

What a refreshing reminder! I might think that my situation is the problem, but through this book I’ve been convicted that my heart is far more often the real issue. I’ve seen how the gospel of Jesus Christ really does make a difference to everyone one of our painful circumstances or emotions.

I recommend Is This It? to all twenty-somethings and anyone—pastors, parents, church members—who want to understand and support them. Older teenagers could also pick up this book for a glimpse of the obstacles ahead and to get equipped to think biblically when they come.

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