In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy is the real story that most of us came to know from the Blind Side movie (linked to my review). The Tuohys tell the story about how they each developed hearts that were open to share and to give.
One of the biggest take-aways I got from listening to the book was the popcorn theory, which I wrote about more on my blog. Check it out if you often feel overwhelmed with all the needs in the world and feel bad because you can’t help everyone.
In the movie, it seems to be completely out of the blue, which makes the story more dramatic, but in reality the Tuohy’s had given and shared their lives with countless others who were in need over the years. What’s more, each of their backgrounds set them up to be inclined to help others. Leigh Anne’s parents cheerfully welcomed her friends into their home, and when they saw a need, like new clothes, they provided. Sean’s desire to help kids in need came from his own experience growing up on the receiving side of others’ generosity.
As with any memoir-type book, there is a bit of self-importance and over-sharing that might annoy those who don’t usually read memoir, but if you enjoyed The Blind Side movie, I know that you will like hearing more of their straight-forward thoughts (they are one opinionated and hard-driving couple!). If you like biographies, you will enjoy hearing how their upbringings affected them and led them to live out their philosophy of cheerful giving.
In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving has recently been nominated for a 2011 Audie award in the Faith-Based nonfiction category.
I have also given this book the “Christian” category label, but this is in no way a Christian Living sort of title that would only appeal to those trying to put their faith into action. In fact, when the Tuohy’s met Sandra Bullock, who has been skeptical of Christians and wondered if she could play Leigh Anne in the movie, she told Leigh Anne after she had been shadowing her, “Wow! I finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach.”
I think that sums up the tone of this book on cheerful giving. Yes, the Tuohy’s are Christians. Sean references a sermon given on giving and tithing that impacted him a lot, but I still wouldn’t call this a “Christian book.” The Tuohy’s desires to give goes far beyond some sort of Biblical mandate. It’s who they are, and if you read it, you’ll be challenged to figure out in what way you can help others as well.
AUDIO BOOK NOTES: The first sections are actually narrated/read by Sean and Leigh Anne themselves. While they aren’t professional voice actors, it makes their story seem authentic. I heard the Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy speak at a benefit dinner right before listening to this, and their voice is authentic! You might think it’s over-the-top, but if anything, it felt understated as compared to the funny, confident people I saw on stage.
When the professional narrators step in, the quality improves, but it does lose some of the personal touch.
This is a great book suitable for the whole family (certainly from 9 up), so I think it would make an excellent book to listen to in the car on a road trip.
Check out my GIVEAWAY of this title (on another post about audiobooks).
Jennifer Donovan tries to notice and respond to others’ needs, but she is often too wrapped up in her own world (about which she shares with the world at Snapshot).