Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blog Review: Real life

The Blog: Real Life

The Reviewer: Omega Mom from 3kidsnojob.

First impressions:
'Real Life' burst on to the screen with its intriguing title and lovely flower picture. As a mother of three children, real life is something I seem to experience a lot of, sometimes to excess. I'm also a music teacher, so I was also drawn by the author's nicely written personal profile which describes her as a voice and piano teacher.

Then I came across the first of many references to Jesus. As a committed agnostic, religious blogs aren't something I'm naturally drawn too. To cut it for me, and for any casual reader who doesn't share the beliefs of 'Real Life's' author, this blog was going to have to work extra hard. When I'm reading, I want entertainment, not a sermon, however well-intentioned. So I was a little apprehensive, wondering which of the two I was going to get.

Design: I liked this very much. A lot of thought had gone into delivering a blog that was easy on the eye and, crucially, easy for the new reader to follow. Pictures were plentiful and well laid-out, links were quick and well organised, the sidebar was nicely arranged and the posts easy to find. There was also plenty to do - music to listen to and a competition to enter. Again, it was struck a good balance: energetic without being over-crowded. I had just one thought: new readers like me need easy access to the back story, so having a few more posts on screen without pressing the 'older posts' button might help.

It's a nicely written blog with a straightforward, unpretentious style that's easy to read. Sentences are short, points clearly made and the author is obviously blessed with a good sense of humour when it comes to recounting the lighter side of family life. There's a nice post – How to get great customer service that anybody with young children can relate to, about how using your offspring tactically can guarantee you good customer serivce.

I also enjoyed 'Playing with Fire' a laugh out loud account of man's desire to set a match to anything remotely flammable 'that's just sitting there waiting asking to be burned'.

These general, family-life posts were few and far between, though, and no wonder. The author notes that, 'I always want my readers to see Jesus first,' and it's therefore unsurprising that the bible features a lot, whether through direct quotes or commentaries on different passages used to offer a perspective on everyday life. You either like it, or you don't and with lots of awards from and links to like-minded groups and individuals, it's clear that Real Life is a popular and well-regarded read with a predominantly Christian audience.

Best and Worst: The design was excellent. The content, for me, could have done with more of the funny family anecdotes and less of the direct religion but, given the author's strong Christian faith, that's unlikely to happen, in which case I suspect that she'll mainly be preaching to the converted.

Blogroll worthy: For me, no, solely because of the religious content. For any Christian out there keen to leven a hard-core religious message with humour, I suspect it's a must-read.

Score: Because of the above, I found it a hard blog to rate. I'm going for a six, though, because the design and the nice writing style which kept me going long after I'd normally have given up.

Do you want your blog to be given a no-hold barred, honest review? Sign up here.


Liz said...

Great review, Omega Mom! I also enjoyed the content and format, although I'm an atheist. You're so right that religion is a very touchy subject for many readers. Like openly declaring support for the Republicans, it can make people click out without taking a closer look! So I think your rating was accurate. However, I always appreciate a writer's courage when they take an unpopular stand and stick to it without seeming strident, and Real Life seemed to have that honest confidence. There was enough personal content there to keep me interested, even though I too scanned through the bible passages!

Omega Mum said...

Thanks, Liz. It is tough to write a blog with a declared slant, I agree, so it was interesting to review it. I thought Real Life did it well.

The Farmers Wife said...

Being an atheist I can understand your apprehension in reviewing this, religion (and I believe this is more the case in the states than in the UK) can be such a touchy subject.

I think you did a very good job in reviewing this, and it certainly makes me want to go over and check out Real Life for myself.

Omega Mum said...

the farmers wife: Thanks so much for this nice comment.

SingForHim@Real Life said...

I don't know if you're supposed to comment on your own review, but I must weigh in and thank Omega Mom for this review. She was very fair and complimentary, despite being uninterested in the religious content. She gave me a lot to be proud of, and some things to work on! She made me think about my blogging purpose, and encouraged me on my writing style and humor.

I am glad she had a different world-view, because what good is it to only be critiqued by like-minded individuals?

I would highly recommend other bloggers sign up for a review!!

Reluctant Memsahib said...

Great review. Especially given fact you're not a Believer. I'd never have done such a good job, I'm afraid, I'd have been put off by regular Jesus reference and would have started on defensive note for fear of being preached at!Well done for a very balanced review.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent review. I think you were very fair and did an excellent job.

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