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The Independent Critic

 Book Review: Sharing Too Much by Richard Paul Evans 
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Richard Paul Evans, long recognized as the "king of Christmas fiction," is at his strongest in "Sharing Too Much: Inspirational Musings and Lessons From an Unlikely Life when he is, in fact, turning inward and sharing reflections, stories, and testimonies from his extraordinary life.

There are times that "Sharing Too Much" deviates from that literary plan, an entire section more devoted to biblical musings and lessons, but where this collection of inspirational musings and lessons really shines is when Evans drops the facade a bit and allows readers, and likely most of his longtime readers, to get a glimpse inside what it was likely being raised within a family that seemingly had a good life one day that would spiral into financial challenges, a suicidal mother, a move into a less safe city, and relentless bullying.

Those who've experienced similar challenges, myself included, would likely tell you that some of the most inspirational writing comes out of those challenges for the creative spirits who survive them. There's never any doubt that Evans is a creative spirit from early in life.

It's when Evans is sharing his journey from wounded childhood through to beloved author that this endearing collection at its finest even if it does feel, at times, like Evans remains to this day somewhat hesitant to become truly vulnerable. As human beings, however, we appreciate that bravado that sometimes possesses Evans's writing. We want to know that we can have our challenges yet rise above them in a way - we can still non-profit organizations to help children, we can become a celebrity of sorts, and we can do the work we love. There's something beautiful about Evans's ability to own his entire life journey. In fact, one of my favorite essays in the book involves an encounter that Evans's daughter had with a fan and his own ability to gently yet firmly turn it around with gratitude and respect.

Fans of Evans, and as a 41-time #1 bestseller he certainly has millions of them, will most certainly appreciate the literary tapestry that Evans creates here. I'm almost embarrassed to say this is my first experience with Evans, though I've long been aware of his work.

I mean, seriously. He's the "king of Christmas fiction" and I'm, well, a bit of a Scrooge. My only Christmas tradition is watching a Christmas-themed horror film every Christmas day. Seriously.

Yet, ironically, I found myself most enchanted with "Sharing Too Much" when Evans was leaning into Richard Paul Evans the Beloved (I hereby declare this his official king title). Insightful and compassionate lessons about parenting, marriage, parenthood, incorrect diagnoses and more are warm, witty, enchanting, and practically make you feel like you're sitting next to Evans having a conversation.

Rest assured that I did, in fact, love "Sharing Too Much" even if I didn't quite click with the occasional literary detour and I sometimes wished that Evans would have leaned a little more into the "too much." However, "Sharing Too Much" also gave me a deep appreciation for a man whose life journey gives a deep understanding into how the "king of Christmas fiction" became so incredibly worthy of that title.

Now, I'm moving on to read "The Christmas Box."

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic