After reading Julie C. Morse’s new book Out of the Box: The Mostly True Story of a Mysterious Man I had a lot to think about.
Mostly I wondered how such an interesting person ended up selling boxes for a living. Anyway, in the end I concluded what you do for a living doesn’t determine you who you are.
Out of the Box
As protagonist Bob Harris says many times through the book, his success is tied to the philosophy of “good accounts, secured faithfully.” Really, all of life can be boiled down to this ideal—your character is what defines you.
But I nearly said “no” to this book because the subtitle was a deterrant.
“The mostly true story of a mysterious man.” MOSTLY true? What does that mean? Which parts? How am I supposed to read it? When I read the subtitle I’m stuck because the only thing it tells me is I still don’t understand creative non-fiction.
I mean, is it true or not? Can something be mostly true?
Anyway, since I already edit as I read I didn’t want to add questioning truth to the docket as well, because that would be too much work. For me.
Bob Harris’ story was well worth the battle. He had big ideas. And he wasn’t limited by daunting things most of us would be cripled by. He invented, battled, sold, schmoozed, charmed and adventured through life. And the world. For me, here’s the best part of Harris’ story. Despite the business success, travelling adventures and crazy stories, it’s obvious Harris valued and cultivated deep and lifelong friendships most of all.
His courage inspires me to live life on my own terms.
Further musings about Out of the Box because it really did make me think
First I’ll say this is the first self-published book I’ve reviewed. My main critique of self-published books is true for this one as well: it could use a really good edit.
- Cut crutch words (like “literally” and “figuratively”)
- The paragraphs seemed to follow a repetitive pattern, which is something I’ve never noticed before
- And I could probably have done without the last chapter altogether because it seems like the story was already over. I think I see what Morse was getting at but I didn’t feel like it added anything to the story
- And as for the made up “Julianna” character. I found her unnecessary and confusing. Bob Harris is a strong enough character to carry the story all by himself—I mean, that seems to be the story of his entire life.
All that to say I think Harris’ story is compelling enough to see past the hiccups and a really interesting read.
Other book reviews
- The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles: A Love Story
- To Hear the Forest Sing
- Constantly Craving | This is Not a Book About Food
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