Book Reviews

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

First nonfiction book of 2021! I purchased Untamed soon after it came out last year because of all of the hype around it. I had built it up so much as being a book I needed to kick my booty that I kept putting off reading it. As we got closer to the end of 2020, I decided it would be the perfect book for a fresh start in 2021.

The Book

In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the beloved activist, speaker, and bestselling author of Love Warrior and Carry On, Warrior explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and start trusting the voice deep within us.

This is how you find yourself.

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

My Favorite Quotes & Passages

We forgot how to know when we learned how to please.

This is why we live hungry.

Untamed, Page 24

I did not know, before that woman told me, that all feelings were for feeling. I did not know that I was supposed to feel everything. I thought I was supposed to feel happy. I thought that happy was for feeling and that pain was for fixing and numbing and deflecting and hiding and ignoring. I thought that when life got hard, it was because I had gone wrong somewhere. I thought that pain was weakness and that I was supposed to suck it up. But the thing was that the more I sucked it up, the more food and booze I had to suck down.

Untamed, Page 50
untamed glennon doyle

Girls and women sense this. We want to be liked. We want to be trusted. So we downplay our strengths to avoid threatening anyone and invoking disdain. We do not mention our accomplishments. We do not accept compliments. We temper, qualify, and discount our opinions. We walk without swagger, and we yield incessantly. We step out of the way. We say, “I feel like” instead of “I know.” We ask if our ideas make sense instead of assuming they do. We apologize for…everything. Conversations among brilliant women often devolve into competitions for who wins the trophy for hottest mess. We want to be respected, but we want to be loved and accepted even more.

Untamed, Page 285

My Thoughts

Overall, I gave Untamed four stars. It was a beautiful book with a lot of passages and bits that really resonated with me. (Honestly, I had to buy more post-it flags because I was running out.) I only gave it four stars because there was a significant portion of the book I didn’t/couldn’t connect with just yet.

Glennon talks a lot about her life as a mom and parenting and lessons to teach your kids. That’s not where I am right now. I talked to my sister who has a four year old daughter, and she mentioned that those chapters were exponentially more profound for her. If you’re a mother, I think this book could be life changing.

There’s also been a “movement” around “goddamn cheetah,” so I had assumed it was a large theme in the book. It was not. It was mentioned twice. There was more of a focus around “finding your wild” and becoming “untamed” than about being a “goddamn cheetah.”

Untamed will stay on my shelf for years and I do believe I’ll continue coming back to it. It wasn’t the biggest kick in the booty that I needed, but it was a soft nudge in a forward direction.

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