This Would Have Been a Book Review If They Had Done Their Homework

Gentle Readers,

I was asked to read “It Is Only Money and It Grows on Trees!”  and I was given a free copy and asked to review it for y’all.

Essentially, this book wants to get folks to understand their beliefs about money. Which could be an interesting topic, but this book wants to discuss religious ideas about money. Again, this could be fascinating, but I personally have no interest in whether “Mary was a truly spiritual woman.” I could have read more, but slightly further down page 8, this book clarified that part of its hope is to mark off who is a good Christian or not, i.e.”Frank and Mary were both Christians. Or maybe we should say they both went to church.” There is so much judgment in this phrasing. As a person raised by fundamentalists, I’m not down for subjecting myself to this book.

This makes me suspect that the people who reached out to me had not read my blog at all. I am not a religious person. I wrote openly about this when I was telling y’all how to be better allies when the LGBT community suffered the horrifying attack this summer.

In case you don’t want to click through,

“14. Don’t take personal offense if an LGBTQ person does not want your prayer – so many of your religions have been used to bludgeon us. At times, to death. If you are praying to comfort us, you may want to consider our actual experiences with people using praying as a weapon to “pray the gay away” and how it would make you feel if strangers prayed about the way you experienced sex and intimacy.”

You should do your homework before asking someone to do something for you. I know that not all lesbians are atheists, but part of being a respectful neighbor includes being careful when you bring up your religion. You should not assume that it is a welcome conversation for folks. It is deeply private and personal for many people. The fact that you live in a nation that is largely one religion does not make it any more polite to assume folks want such a fraught topic brought up.

I only read books that interest me, because there is only so much joy and time in the world. I won’t be reading this one.

Have you ever been confused by someone’s request because it did not take into account who you are as a person?

Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Mr. PIE

    I can understand the frustration here. Very, very irritating. And intrusive.
    Amazing the lengths some folks will go to get an angle that suits their needs.
    On the flip side, you could have turned around a very terse review using some of the points in this post and basically get right back at them with a “don’t even bother with this book if you are focused on personal finance”. Perhaps consider slating it with an Amazon review once it actually publishes…..

    • There may be value in the book. I know many people who consider what their religious leaders suggest before making financial decisions. I don’t want to harm the author. I just think folks should think and do a little research before asking for help. The author did technically get a little publicity from this post.

      • “…many people…consider what their religious leaders suggest before making financial decisions.” Is that true? I’m not questioning your statement, because that sounds like something people might do. Rather, I’m questioning the practice. Separation of church and state has some serious merits. So does a healthy separation of church and finance…

        • They sure do! All the folks in was raised with do. See also – so many PF blogs are heavily Christian and talk about this. Some consider that they feel compelled to tithe. One church I went to was full of folks who “felt sure God would provide so they should step out in faith” for X financial choice. Lots of folks consider their faith’s sense of morality before making a financial choice.

  • Mrs. Groovy

    I was approached about this book too. I saw some spiritual overtones but quite honestly, I only read the first 2 or 3 pages. My initial thought was it’s suited for young audiences and I suggested to the book rep that she might want to try reaching out to teachers. There’s no question she was just reaching out without reading the blogs. I can understand your frustration.

    FYI, I personally love Dave Ramsey and I’m not a Christian, let alone an evangelical Christian. The difference to me, here, is that I connect with his values and his money principles. Even when he mentions Jesus a lot I don’t find him offensive. He’s also very into the teachings of Rabbi Lapin and I don’t hear him putting down Jews.

    • I am not opposed to learning from all religious folks, but seeing the judgment of others is always squicky for me. There are so many folks with extremely different world views that I learn a lot from. I listen to Radical Personal Finance because he is great at explaining things. Many of his thoughts I find offensive, but I see enough value in learning from him. I would not likely be his friend, but I am happy that he is sharing his wisdom with the world.

      I was raised by evangelicals and try to stay as far away as I can. Too many bad memories. No Ramsey for me. I’m glad that many folks turn their lives around listening to him though. More good and stability in people’s lives makes me happy.

  • So, I definitely reviewed this book…and I rather quite liked it for what it is. Or what I interpreted it to be (I think Mrs. Groovy hit it on the head). It seemed like a book I would give younger people (like some of my students) to help them see money through various lenses. Eventually, they roll through many religions and cultures. And I really like that in terms of exposing a 12 year old to how different parts of the world view money. I will have to look back at those first few pages, though, to see if the words seem different to me now!

    Overall, I don’t think money and religion have to go to together at all. It seems that PF either says a lot about religion or nothing (hello!). Where I see it most has to do with people who tithe. And to comment even more generally, you’re absolutely right about people doing their research. It’s invaluable. Like the person who is still pitching to me for a sponsored post on online casinos 😉

    • I’m glad you think it could be useful to younger folks. I trust your opinion there as an educator.

      Online casinos. Gross! Folks need to remember who their pitching to.

      • It’s definitely a book I would offer after a conversation. In fact, that’s how I recommend most of my books. I never want kiddos to feel pigeonholed or feel like I’m handling something that they can’t process. I actually am trying to incorporate the idea of money around the world in our World Geography and Cultures class. Frugal Vagabond’s Earth Awaits is going to be awesome for that!

        • And as far as the online casino goes, guess that’s what happens when you write a post about Vegas and ppl only read the headline!

          • Headlines are so tricky like that.

        • I love conversations before book recommendations. When folks ask me for one, I always ask a few questions first. Just because I love a book, does not mean it will speak to them. The Earth Awaits sounds perfect for that lesson.

  • Ten Factorial Rocks

    I have reviewed this book ZJ and posted it on my site even as a giveaway. I actually think this book shows the importance of the early influence children get from their family, religion and culture about money. We acquire our views about money during pre-teen formative years (see here: http://tenfactorialrocks.com/got-risk/), and that’s why I found this book interesting. I don’t think this has anything to do with the author’s or reader’s religious inclinations, but rather provides a perspective of religion having a strong influence over our attitudes towards money, and especially children whose formative beliefs on money are formed in pre-teen years. Among the many ‘out there’ books we may get asked to review, this is actually a decent one.

    • If the author could have made it past page eight without those judgmental phrases, I could have been interested. They may be subtle to some folks, but to a person raised by fundamentalists, those sentences are dog-whistles. I did not say the book had no value, I said that it has no value for me.

      There are literally too many books in the world to read in a lifetime. I will continue to avoid books that have religious judgment in them.

  • I received the email, too. I have definitely refused a LOT of requests like this for the same reasons. This book attempted to cover too much, which one of the reasons why I think there were lots of assumptions and microaggressions. And it doesn’t align with who I am. Much more to say, but I think my refusal was enough.

    • Refusal speaks volumes. I like reviewing things. Hopefully something more appropriate comes along.