He appears when least expected but most needed. Usually dressed in blue jeans, sandals, and an old t-shirt, the white-haired sage is a mystery to the small Orange Beach, AL community. The most anyone really knows about him is his name. “My name is Jones. No ‘Mr.’ Just plain Jones,” is his customary reply.
Then again, that’s his name if the character is white. He manifests himself in different ways to different individuals. To the white characters, he’s white and calls himself Jones. To the Hispanic landscapers, he’s obviously Hispanic and calls himself Garcia. To the Chinese restaurant owner, he’s Chinese and calls himself Chen.
Though his name and appearance change, his interactions with the characters are similar. Each person has a problem and Jones/Garcia/Chen comes along to offer him or her some much-needed perspective. “I am a noticer. It is my gift. While others may be able to sing well or run fast. I notice things that other people overlook. And you know, most of them are in plain sight. I notice things about situations and people that produce perspective. That’s what most folks lack — perspective — a broader view. So, I give them that broader view…and it allows them to regroup, take a breath, and begin their lives again.” After just one serendipitous encounter with Jones, the characters lives are forever changed for the better.
The Noticer is an allegory offering wise perspectives on worry, love, marriage, dating, and success, to list a few.
While Jones’ perspective is good and (could be) helpful (to some), I found the story contrived, the characters stereotypical, and Jones preachy. It reminded me of a book assignment for a business class I had to take in college. Businessmen, salesmen, CEO’s, and idealists love books like this one. There is a reader’s guide included at the end that will help teams and groups study the book together and try to apply the principles set forth by Jones.