Review: The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner

Posted September 12, 2015 by meezcarrie in Christian, nonfiction, Valerie Woerner / 0 Comments

I’m pretty sure that debut author Valerie Woerner and I are kindred spirits.

Both good girls, both imaginative worriers, both self-proclaimed book nerds. And y’all… she too has fully embraced the use of my favorite plural for “you” 🙂

Anne Shirley would be so elated for us!

finishing schoolI adore the cover of The Finishing School – it’s got this lovely blush tint to it that makes me feel deliciously girly!

And its tagline – “how one book nerd began living what she learned”

I signed up for this book tour immediately upon receiving the email from Litfuse, just from that tagline alone! And I’m so very glad I did.

Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live more intentionally?

In today’s world, our most precious pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don’t need, bad habits we can’t seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it? That’s the challenge.

After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to good use and start actually living it out. You will hear about her journey through victories and plenty of failures and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.

plumOh goodness, y’all.  If you thought I read a lot, just wait until you look at Valerie’s booklist! She redefines “voracious reader” in the very best way.  My towering TBR pile grew exponentially as a result of all the books referred to and recommended in The Finishing School. 

Valerie Woerner opens the very first chapter by stating that she’s not all that passionate about social graces, or the lack thereof.  This isn’t that kind of finishing school. (And we all breathe a collective slouching sigh of relief…) She is passionate about the refinement of our souls, however, and the pages that follow act as a refreshingly-practical motivator to start doing something with all that book knowledge you’re hoarding.  This is, like, the bookworm’s field manual!

Because, let’s be honest here.  We book nerds would much rather keep our nose stuck comfortably in what we’re reading instead of doing something uncomfortable like applying the truth we’ve just ingested.

book love

I must confess, I got a small student-y type thrill when I read the first chapter’s title – “Open Your Books to Page..” I did so love school! But as she very quickly reminded people like me,

My good girl heart has to check my motives when I start getting enthusiastic about DOING. It’s all well and good until I leave God out of it.  Then it’s not so well and good.

The entire book is full of such simple-but-revolutionary & GODLY advice that if I don’t get it together and act on what I’ve learned, then my own laziness is at fault and I have nobody to blame but me.

But never fear, fellow bookish types! Valerie starts us out fairly easy. I found that my toe pain increased the more chapters I read (as in, she stepped all over ’em, y’all!), but as she explains at the beginning, if we don’t get the first two chapters down we are missing the power we need to act on the rest.

When you have The Finishing School in hand, you will be holding a guide on:

prayer | Bible study | goals | distractions | self-control | habits

boundaries | balance |minimalism | friendship | hospitality | waiting

joy | contentment | influence | forgiveness | awareness | peace

comparison | health | rest | margin

Are you gravitating toward any of those chapters yet?  Let me tell ya, the chapters on self-control, health, rest, and margin kicked my tail.  I needed all the other guides too but whew! I “ouched” my way through those four… and then came up with some action plans to implement what I had learned.  Because, really? That’s kinda the point 🙂

I underlined and starred and noted many sentences and sections in The Finishing School.  Here are some of the most profound to me:

Self-control is a response set apart from my emotions and instead is a response decided in advance based on a standard I live by.

Did that step on your toes like it did mine? Gotta know ahead of time what my strategy is!

Can we allow God to rough up our day?

Whew. I’m limping a bit here… 🙂

Jesus forgave us and all those who nailed Him to a cross while His wounds were fresh and gaping open.

Wow.  I literally wrote that word in the margin next to that sentence.  And we think we have to hang on to things because time will make it easier to forgive…

We [should] look different than we did last year because of God’s work in our lives.

I think I’m going to write that out and tape it up everywhere in my house.  That’s convicting, y’all.  But at the same time, it’s so motivating!!! I want that for myself! I want that for you!

Bottom Line:  Valerie’s easy-going conversational writing style makes having your toes stepped on much more enjoyable than you might think 😉 Sentences like “This routine-loving gal is about to discuss ‘flexibility’ so look alive” keep the pace steady and the mood upbeat, despite the convicting truths speaking to you from every chapter.  And Valerie doesn’t escape the toe-tramples either! Her candid honesty puts us all on the same level (which is really where we are anyway) and leaves the reader feeling both motivated and encouraged. The resources provided online and at the end of each chapter (homework, y’all!!!) add even more accountability and practicality to the truths just conveyed. This would make a great small group study too! 5 stars!

purple5 (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review. See my Disclosure statement.)

Purchase a copy:

Read what others are saying! Litfuse Tour

About the Author: valerie woerner

Valerie Woerner is owner of Val Marie Paper. She and her husband, Tyler, live in Louisiana with their daughter, Vivi Mae.The Finishing School is her first book.

Connect with Valerie online: websiteTwitter, Instagram

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