January - Book Of The Month
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I love books. Books have fuelled my life - my imagination, my beliefs, my understanding of other cultures and of other people and their points of view. I’ll always praise Jodi Picoult for being brave enough to always tell the ‘other’ side of the story. This is why it's worth also reading novels from times before our values changed. I rarely read non-fiction because I don't subscribe to the belief that we learn more from reality that fiction. There have been so many books that have given me insight, from so many different authors. Yet, though many books shaped me in my youth and as much as I continue to learn from books now, it’s been a long time since I’ve honestly been able to say a book changed my life. I’m even a bit reluctant to now, but I’m going to.
Glennon Doyle’s memoir, Untamed, changed my life. Thank GOD I read this book! It was like hearing everything I already knew deep down but had never been able to put into words.
The prologue began all this. In fact, it's the part I know I’ll forever be able to recall. I’ve never heard the human condition explained so well. That sense of living without something. Of having forgotten something or dismissed something then not being able to find what that was. It was so simple - it was myself, without all the rules, restrictions, standards and expectations that the world had set upon me.
Obviously, this belief trusts that we’re not going to break the law or do harm. Most of us wouldn’t, even if we were free to. But what we want, what we know, what we feel, gets caged when we learn how to ‘function’ in society and be what people expect rather than who we are. What we imagine people want us to be, rather than who we want to be.
Honestly, since I read this book my happiness has shot up by at least 80%. I find myself smiling without knowing why. Actually, I do know why. I’ve been smiling to myself because we found one another again. Myself and I. I’ve made friends with the child I once was who has always known what is right and what is wrong and I’ve learnt to listen to her. We are both very pleased with what this has allowed us to achieve.
I’d been on this journey for a while before I read this memoir, but this tipped all the puzzle pieces I’d collected into place.
Perhaps I can’t review this book fairly because I’ve never read a self-help book, and this feels as much like a self-help book as it does a memoir. The difference is, Doyle talks only of her personal experience and what she’s learnt. There’s nothing instructional. For me, there was only a profound feeling of ‘you too????’ There is where it tethered on the edge of being self-help, only because it helped me better understand myself and all these uncomfortable feelings I’d been carrying. Maybe you’ll feel like I did. Maybe you’ll find yourself saying ‘yes, yes, yes,’ again and again in an almost orgasmic way as you read through the revelations. Maybe you won’t, and that’s ok. What I would say though, is that if there’s even a chance that you love it even half as much as I did, it’s worth reading this book.
Is it a book for women? Well, it is from a female point of view so stands to resonate better maybe with women. However, the story is about living as a projection of who you should be, rather than your authentic self. As Doyle points out in the book, boys/men are doing this also. The fight to live in our truest most authentic self is as much a right of men as of women. So I believe men can get as much out of this book as women.
Glennon Doyle not only has some great ideas, but her exceptional talents as a writer enable her to translate these in the most beautiful, image-filled, sensory way. This is not just a personal journey, this is an insight from an intelligent person who has lived, done it right, done it wrong, watched it, thought about it and imagined a better way of doing it.
I’m feeling bad for 2021. I feel this book cannot be beaten! What should I read next? Let me know in the comments. Subscribe to comment and get a monthly recap of my articles!