Not From Around Here is an enjoyable and thought-provoking "road trip" through the various places author Brandon O'Brien has lived. The book's style is much like a memoir, so Brandon's first-hand experiences form much of the book's message, making it an engaging and easy read. Through story and reflection, he brings to the surface both positive feelings and negative associations many of us have towards the city, the suburbs, and small-town America and the people who live in those places.
His stories are well-crafted and serve as strong points of connection for the reader and made all the more lively by his comedic retelling. As is true for most of us, Brandon’s personal growth is linked to the encounters he has with family members, friends, and total strangers.
“Through these experiences I realized that understanding other people better can result in your understanding yourself better. That’s why we need each other — to help us see what we can’t see alone.”
Brandon's writing is disarming and reveals our own need to connect with and learn from others with humility and intentionality. These may be people who live next door or down the street but whose daily life and experience is very different from our own. These may be estranged family members or fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who we keep at arm's length because of where they come from.
Not From Around Here is a brief read but delivers much for us to consider and act upon as followers of Christ and sojourners on this earth.