The Middle Matters : Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You

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The Middle Matters : Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You

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Crown Publishing Group
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United States

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The best-selling author of Never Unfriended opens up about midlife and what it feels like to have outgrown those teenage jeans--but finally grown into the shape of our souls.

"I want to give Lisa-Jo's book a standing ovation."--Aarti Sequeira, chef and TV personality

Do you ever wonder how you woke up one day with all the responsibilities of a grown-up who secretly enjoys buying groceries in bulk, can no longer recognize the tween celebrities on the magazines at checkout, but is still surprised when a Starbucks barista calls you "ma'am"--because your inside self is frozen in time to about twenty years ago?

So does Lisa-Jo Baker.

In these intimate reflections on midlife, Lisa-Jo invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them--beyond what the media, the mirror, or the magazines say. Through gutsy, beautiful storytelling, she admits out loud what most of us are thinking about marriage, parenting, the bathroom scale, and how badly we all want to buy those matching Magnolia Market mugs.

Her delicious stories come from not being afraid of who she is, because Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder, and the muffin top--and that these are all good things. She's not asking you to seize the day, just to make sure you actually see it for all its wildly ordinary glory.

Welcome to the middle!

Praise for The Middle Matters

"What a thought-provoking collection of reflections and wisdom! Through personal stories about love, loss, and life in the middle, Lisa-Jo invites us to take a long look inside our own mind's secret nooks and crannies, which aren't nearly as dark, scary, or ordinary as we might think." --Layla Palmer, The Lettered Cottage blog

"With captivating wit, hard-won wisdom, and breathtaking honesty, Lisa-Jo has written a love letter to the delicious middle." --Mandy Arioto, president and CEO of MOPS International and author of Have More Fun

"With Lisa-Jo's guts as our unfettered guide, may we finally learn the sumptuous truth of our years: that a grilled cheese sandwich without the middle is just toast." --Erin Loechner, founder of OtherGoose and author of Chasing Slow

"Thank you, Lisa-Jo, for reminding women everywhere how important it is to find meaning in the midst of the confusing middle." --Joy Prouty, artist and educator
The Middle Matters (Hardcover)
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Crown Publishing Group

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Customer ratings & reviews

4.4 out of 5stars

Most helpful positive review

4 out of 5 stars review


I knew, when I chose to read and review The Middle Matters, that I was well beyond the targeted age group and that I have already experienced much of the subject matter. I am so glad that I had this opportunity becauses my age hasn't prevented me from gaining valuable information and receiving insight from this book. Author Lisa-Jo Baker touches on topics such as aging and weight during the middle years; marriage after the early years; parenting older children; friendships that have endured through the years; and our faith during the middle years. I was expecially drawn to this last section because I truly believe that faith is ever-changing. I don't mean that during your middle years your faith isn't valuable; I just know that my faith has...

Most helpful negative review

2 out of 5 stars review


In her newest book, The Middle Matters, author Lisa-Jo Baker shares some of her insights and wisdom about middle age. Through personal stories and reflections, she shares how middle age sometimes gets a bad rap. With our bodies showing the passage of time, but our minds still feeling 20 years old, middle age can be rough. But it can also be the sweet spot where we finally embrace who we are: wrinkle, gray hair, strong opinions, and all. This was my first exposure of this author. And she is a wonderful story teller. Baker writes with humorous insight into marriage, parenthood, and love handles. However, what I didn't realize is this: The Middle Matters is a collection of short essays and personal stories. It really has more to do w...
  • 5 out of 5 stars review

    Loved her honesty

    I really enjoyed reading the book of short essays; the poetic style of story telling had me constantly reflecting on how I too can find value and importance in the daily life that so often goes unnoticed or is called "mediocre." And finding value in myself at this stage. I loved reading the chapters about her rental housing situations and hosting people in her home. I related a lot to those words. So much life happens in the middle years and I want to be able to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my more adventurous 20s. Lisa-Jo's words impacted me like an older sister or mentor sitting down with me sharing her wisdom and insight into life at the next stage. Loved reading her honest experiences. I was given an advanced copy of her book.
  • 5 out of 5 stars review

    I loved this book about the middle!

    I laughed and cried my way through this collection of essays by Lisa-Jo Baker about life in the middle. I appreciate this book because it was so relatable, encouraging and empowering. Although the target audience is most certainly the midlife Christian woman, I believe Lisa-Jo Baker's work is relatable to all. My favorite essay is the one on how Baker's husband will never run through the airport for her but loves her all the same.
  • 5 out of 5 stars review

    The Middle Does Matter

    Lisa Jo wonderfully shares excerpts of her life and how she, and we too; can always find Jesus right there with us if we are looking to see him in the middle. The middle of our messes, our joys, our sadness, our illness. The middle where both the best and worst parts are being lived.
  • 5 out of 5 stars review

    Don't Fear The Middle!

    My emotions were all over the place during "The Middle Matters," by Lisa Jo Baker. I haven't read her work before, but after this, I am seeking out whatever else is out there. Written in essay format, "The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra) Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You" is a collection of the author's thoughts on multiple issues, from sports with kids, finding true friendships, navigating middle aged marriage (!) to finding our faith in seasons of doubt. Every time I thought I had found THE chapter that most applied to my life at the moment, I found another that was even closer to what I was facing. I can't say for sure that Lisa Jo doesn't have spies around, because she hit THAT close to home, but I really felt like this book s...
  • 5 out of 5 stars review

    A Book for Everyone

    YES. YES. YES to this book. Yes to this insightful, spell-binding, truth-telling, toe-stepping, warm hug, and wet eyed book. Lisa Jo has offered up this incredible piece of her beautiful soul and it welcomes you to jump in and become friends and to realize the beauty in this stage in life. In the midst of all of our fears and hurts, each essay offers a blanket of truth, treasure, and grace so that you can go forward with confidence and joy.This is a book to highlight and to give as gifts to all of the beautiful women in your life. I would highly recommend this book. I was given and ARC to read and review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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