C.J. Casciotta ‘s new book is full of weirdness.
This is not an insult, because his book Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference (Faithwords, 2018) encourages people to get in touch with the things that makes them considered weird in society and embrace it.
Casciotta describes how as a young child, the things that made people unique and “weird” define them until one day people suppressed these actions, and lose touch of what made them unique; things like coloring outside of the lines , and having structure throughout everyday life to the point that when someone was different, they were made fun of until they hid the things that made them different.
Get Weird has many humorous illustrations throughout, including the writer’s references to Willie Wonka, Charlie Brown, Jim Henson, and Walt Disney. Casciotta compares why he no longer likes the “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” TV show, and how Fred Rogers influenced him to accept the weirdness in himself.
The author discusses how being weird can start a movement, from communities and churches. He states by looking at Jesus Christ’s teachings to his disciples (all who were considered outcasts in society of the time), and the use of the Parable of The Lost Sheep, it shows how each person’s uniqueness can be used in society.
Casciotta’s humor throughout the book, along with the chapter titles, reminds me of the writing of musician David Crowder, where Crowder once wrote a chapter in a book about finding God in a Chick-fil-A sandwich (this was before Tim Hawkins’s famous song about the place). Casciotta tells stories of people he met in his life, such as a woodworker ex-sniper named Charlie, to his own train jumping experience, to drive home his points in the midst of the humor to tie his ideas together.
The book has three major parts: the first part of the book encourages people to embrace what makes them unique by not being ashamed of their “weirdness,” the second part discusses “What To Make of Your Weirdness,” and finally “How Your Weirdness Will Change Us.”
Although the overall theme is nice, where the writer encourages people to be different and embrace others who are not like them (one story involves a pastor struggling to decide if a woman is fit for church service due to her tattoos). The second half of the book encourages people to do things like speak up, step out of the norm, and challenge people and things to create a movement. While these are all creative in a way, there is also a time when order is needed (even in the church) and being a radical all the time leads to consequences in my opinion.
The author uses quotes and actions from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Henson, and Walt Disney to show how they paved their own paths when people thought they were weird. Jim Henson had to go to England to make his shows, because he was turned down in the United States by every television company. Using his life as comparison is different than, say a person challenging the local pastor on a dress code in the church or fighting the church leaders on things that go against Biblical principals. The writer does not encourage anarchy, but the Bible does talk about respecting and following church and local leaders and their rule. The book kind of gets lost in creating a movement that consequences are not discussed much.
This is a nice, easy to read book, with mainly short chapters. The author has a great sense of humor and nice Pop Culture references (his discussion on why albums are better than downloaded music and CDs is entertaining, which I agree with his logic). There are a few Bible verses in the book, but not much, and some references to Jesus, but it overall is not a normal religious book. The book entails more of embracing weirdness and using it to start a movement.
Just because my personal opinion at times varies with the book, the overall theme and entertainment of the writing makes it an pleasurable read. It has plenty of humor throughout , while stating the message the author is trying to achieve. Just because I don’t always agree with the writer does not mean that the book is not bringing out some nice, thoughtful ideas that need looked at. Maybe that is one of the things that makes me weird.
This review copy was sent courtesy of Faith Words, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta (Faithwords, 2018) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3191-8 (paperback) , 978-1-54600-3190-1 (ebook) can be found at http://www.faithwords.com
For information about the author, go to https://www.cjcas.com .
Ages: 13 and up.
For fans of: Christian Living, religion, humor.