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Patricia Puentes

Should You Be Using Goodreads’ Book Reviews to Choose Your Next Read?

reviews for the book untamed

There’s nothing like finding the perfect read: a page-turner that keeps you hooked and up all night because you can’t put it down; a novel that takes you to a distant, fascinating world and lets you escape from reality for a little while; or a book that teaches you about something you’ve been longing to learn about — like pizza making, dog training or career development.

But finding the perfect book is no easy task. I have the feeling that sometimes I spend more time figuring out what my next great read will be than actually reading. Because once I find that rare novel that checks all of the boxes, I devour it.

I’ve developed certain tricks when it comes to discovering that great next book: asking my friends with similar reading tastes for recommendations; checking the new releases from some of my favorite authors; reading book recommendation lists from those authors; and visiting NPR’s annual, curated selection Book Concierge . But these last few years I’ve also turned to Goodreads .

Goodreads is a social network and book database that launched in January 2007. Amazon, which started its giant retailer business as an online bookseller, bought Goodreads in 2013 .

“Our mission is to help people find and share books they love,” Goodreads’ website says. Goodreads’ social network aspect lets you create an account, track what you’re reading and keep a log of it. You can also add friends and see what they’re reading. One of my favorite features is the “Reading Challenge.” Every January you can set a number of books you want to read and then work your way toward that goal amount throughout the year. Setting a realistic yet somewhat challenging goal can be the perfect way to persuade yourself to read just a little bit more, even if it’s just one or two more books than the previous year. And this is one of those competitions where you’re just measuring yourself against yourself.

You can also just use Goodreads as a catalog to look up a book’s author, publication date or number of pages.

Goodreads’ Reviews, Ratings & Lists

In addition to tracking your progress and seeing what your friends on Goodreads are reading and favoriting, you can use this social network to see what its millions of users (statistics website Statista estimated Goodreads had 90 million registered members in July 2019) are perusing and how much they’re liking their reads. Need some more help navigating the site? Here are some of Goodreads features that can help you choose your next book:

reviews for the book untamed

Reviews : Book reviews are one of Goodreads’ most appealing offerings. And while those reviews are written by users, not professional book critics at major publications, some of those who write book reviews do it regularly. They may even be bloggers who read about specific topics or genres. Think about it like the type of restaurant review you can get on Yelp.

Per Goodreads review guidelines , commercial reviews are not allowed. If a reviewer receives a free copy of a book, they must disclose it in the review. Some reviewers receive advanced readers’ copies (ARCs), which makes it possible for a review to hit Goodreads before a book’s publication date.

Ratings : Lazy readers, like myself, prefer to give a book just a 1-5 star rating instead of writing an actual review to go with it. Most books have a bigger number of star ratings than actual reviews. I trust Goodreads’ users enough that I might avoid a book with a rating lower than 3.5 stars. Also, the bigger the number of ratings, the more reliable the metric tends to be.

I use ratings and reviews in conjunction to help me determine whether I should start reading something or not. One of the most recent reviews for the first book in the Bridgertons series , for instance, already warns the reader about the book’s most controversial passage . So, even if that book has a 3.89 rating, a review can help you make a final decision. And yes, reviews might end up being a bit spoilery. So be careful when you do your research.

Lists : They can be created by users or the Goodreads’ team and they are a good way to find reads in specific genres. If you like a book, you can see what lists that title is included on and discover something similar. There are lists for everything, from Scandinavian/Nordic Mysteries to Science Fiction Books by Female Authors or Food Books for Readers to Devour .

Goodreads Annual Choice Awards

This is probably my favorite part of Goodreads. Each year users can choose their favorite books in different categories — Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Fantasy, Romance, Science & Technology, Historical Fiction, Horror, Humor, and so on. Not only is this a good way of giving some love to the authors you’ve enjoyed reading, but the winners and runner-ups also tend to be solid books to add to your list. (They might even help you with your holiday shopping.)

And while Goodreads has received its fair share of criticism for being a bit outdated — I don’t remember the last time the website or app were refreshed — I still can’t see myself not using it. It’s buggy sometimes and it lacks some usability features, but it sure has allowed me to discover authors and books I would have totally missed otherwise.


reviews for the book untamed

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Glennon Doyle , Glennon Doyle Melton

333 pages, Hardcover

First published March 10, 2020

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Glennon Doyle's memoir 'Untamed' had helped me embrace some major changes in my life — here's why I recommend reading it, even though it's been years since it first published

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  • " Untamed " is Glennon Doyle's third memoir and has been a bestseller since it came out in 2020.
  • It reads like a self-help book and I still think of Doyle's advice often.
  • Here are three reasons I recommend this book, from Doyle's writing style to the advice itself.

Insider Today

I enjoy reading self-help books and memoirs, but very few have stayed with me after I turned the final pageー until I read " Untamed " by Glennon Doyle. 

My long-anticipated library copy of "Untamed" came to me at a very uncertain time of my life. I was just months away from changing careers, moving across the country, and marrying my spouse. It felt like I was starting over and to be honest, I was terrified. 

I opened "Untamed" without knowing who Glennon Doyle was or knowing what this book would hold for me. What I found was the unflinchingly honest story of a woman allowing herself to be free, told through deeply personal anecdotes and snippets of wisdom that I still think about today. 

"Untamed" was released in March 2020 but is still ranking on Amazon's bestseller list, was one of the most-read books on Goodreads last year, and is one of Libro.fm's bestselling audiobooks of all time. None of this comes as a surprise to me, as I've gone back to this memoir many times since I first read it, highlighting new passages each time.

Here are three reasons "Untamed" has resonated with me for years: 

1. it's more of a self-help book than a memoir. .

The first part of "Untamed" makes a case for how we are born into society's metaphorical cages that teach us how to act, what to say, who to love, and who to be. 

We are taught to be quiet, stifle our emotions, dream realistically, and fit the status quo, but many of these cages keep us from ever truly knowing ourselves or living freely, offering instead a life of elusive discontent that we avoid by drinking, convincing ourselves that "good enough" is good enough, or simply never looking straight at our problems because they're too much to bear. 

In part two, Doyle offers four keys to unlocking these cages: Feel It All, Be Still And Know, Dare to Imagine, and Build and Burn. These essentially translate to: Feelings are meant to be felt, you need to trust yourself, discontent is a sign you're in the wrong place, and new construction can only come from deconstruction. 

As Doyle identifies these keys, it's as if she's putting words to all the fears we have about what lies just beyond our reach, whether that's sobriety or a new career or leaving a stable but dissatisfying relationship.

Change is hard, full of unknowns, and absolutely scary. Reading about these cages and the keys helped me identify exactly what was challenging about my upcoming changes. Leaving my career in the military to pursue writing meant listening to my heart when it told me I was in the wrong place. Defending that decision to others was its own battle, especially when I wasn't sure it would actually work out. 

Doyle's "keys" helped me see that the discontent I felt was not something to be ignored. It was the embers of a fire I needed to fan, not stamp out. 

2. Doyle articulates her advice in a profound and memorable way. 

Doyle's chapters about her four keys resonate with me the most, but almost every chapter has a small or profound lesson to share, from insight into how we mentally cage young boys just as much as young girls to the acceptance that faith has many forms and changes throughout our lives. 

Making monumental life changes meant I've felt (and still feel) a lot of doubt, but whenever I re-open "Untamed," I feel grounded again. By revisiting Doyle's words, I'm reminded of the path I want to be on and that I have the power to take myself to where I want to be. 

It's made me feel like walking away from my old life was okay, because it meant I was headed toward something better. 

3. Doyle's story is unique, but nearly every reader can see themselves reflected in it. 

In Glennon Doyle's second memoir "Love Warrior," she chronicles how her husband's infidelity brought out the warrior in her. On that very book tour, she announced she was leaving him for Abby Wambach, a now-retired American soccer player. 

This memoir isn't so much about Doyle discovering that she was queer, but how allowing herself to fall in love with Abby was one of the many ways she freed herself from her cages. She also talks about her journeys with sobriety, eating disorders, parenthood, and friendship, tying each of them back to the lessons she's learned about being free and authentic. 

There are a few cheesy anecdotes that are certainly skewed by Doyle's occasional rose-colored glasses, but they are few and far between. But overall, Doyle has an amazing way of drawing you in with her vulnerability, letting readers get lost in her stories and feel like the advice is specifically meant for them. It helps readers like myself see how her advice can apply to our own situations and empower us to reach for our own authentic lives, no matter how imperfect the journey may be. 

The bottom line: 

"Untamed" has a message for everyone and I continue to find Glennon Doyle's advice ringing true in my own life again and again. This book is for anyone who feels a gnawing discontent and is looking for a way forward, but I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to ground themselves and live a more authentic life. 

Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals. You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here . Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected] .

reviews for the book untamed

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Awards & Accolades

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

New York Times Bestseller

IndieBound Bestseller

by Glennon Doyle ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2020

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle ( Love Warrior , 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020


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More About This Book

Glennon Doyle, Without Apologies


A Naked Chelsea Handler Wants You To Read Books

by Elie Wiesel & translated by Marion Wiesel ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 16, 2006

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006


More by Elie Wiesel



by Elie Wiesel ; edited by Alan Rosen


by Elie Wiesel ; illustrated by Mark Podwal


by Elie Wiesel ; translated by Marion Wiesel



From mean streets to wall street.

by Chris Gardner with Quincy Troupe ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2006

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006


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reviews for the book untamed

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Is Glennon Doyle’s new memoir ‘Untamed’ inspirational or heavy-handed?

Book review.

Glennon Doyle’s “ Untamed ” opens with a story about a cheetah. While Doyle is at the zoo with her wife and kids, the family watches a “Cheetah Run” in which a cheetah chases a stuffed pink bunny attached to the back of a Jeep. After the run, Doyle’s young daughter notices the cheetah stalking the perimeter of her cage and says, “Mommy. She turned wild again.”

It’s a metaphor for the ways women are tamed from birth by patriarchy. In “Untamed,” Doyle writes about the ways in which she was caged by internalized misogyny, religious doctrine and homophobia, an eating disorder that started in her early adolescence, alcoholism and what became a performative marriage. She also shares stories of many people who have written to her with their own struggles against being caged. “All of the things that make a woman human are a good girl’s dirty secret,” Doyle writes.

However, many stories end too neatly, with heavy-handed messages of inner power and freedom. Freedom is an important concept in this memoir, but the language of freedom and liberation has larger connotations outside of white women’s experience of patriarchy.

Agency is essential in “Untamed” — the ability to trust oneself is, according to Doyle, the key to so-called freedom. But there are things individuals can do and things they can’t, often based on outside constraints. Doyle swings between recognizing this and insisting that women have everything they need inside them. Often overusing the words “power,” “freedom,” “Knowing” and “Self,” “Untamed” reads like a self-help book for wealthy white women. When it treads lightly into the complex territories of race, privilege, misogyny and capitalism, it boomerangs back to the tired language of every affirmation book ever written: “I am fireproof,” “Life is brutiful ,” “To be brave is to forsake all others to be true to yourself.”

“Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right,” Doyle writes. This contradicts an attempt at complexity with the binary language of “right” and “wrong.” The book sags with one-liners and clichés like this. After a while, the platitudes and pseudo-empowering statements begin to blend together and sound the same.

Where the book manages to be unique and interesting is in the tension between Doyle’s Christian identity and her marriage to a woman.

Doyle made a name for herself with “Love Warrior,” which — as she writes in “Untamed” — was a misguided story of marital redemption. It came from trying to fulfill outward expectations: that a Christian wife could forgive her husband for infidelity and work to create a healing family; it was misguided not because this can’t be done, but because in Doyle’s case, it actively covered up her desire to be with a woman, U.S. soccer icon Abby Wambach.

Doyle recounts in “Untamed” falling for Wambach in a fairy-tale meet-cute that’s pretty endearing, and this reviewer will never scoff at a love story between two women, no matter how cheesy. But the “Love Warrior” story that Doyle shed for this slightly queerer love story falls into the same trappings of the first: everything tied in a neat little bow, even the hard bits.

Where “Untamed” gets even more interesting is in its position in the broader discussion about what it means to be queer, and how queerness as an ethos manifests or doesn’t.

While Doyle is now in a lesbian relationship, the book’s narratives of marriage and parenting are very traditional. This isn’t right or wrong, but it doesn’t disrupt cis-hetero patriarchal dynamics either. Marriage equality has long been criticized by queer activists as too mainstream of a fight; it ignores other ways of making family, erases conversation about gender outside the binary and falls into step with an institution many folks argue is rooted entirely in power dynamics based on gender and sexuality.

“Untamed” does not bring a queer ethos to its storytelling, but rather happens to have a lesbian relationship in a narrative that has “Lean In” vibes — that is, general, oversimplified advice about finding and cultivating inner power that only works for a certain subset of the population.

“ Untamed ” by Glennon Doyle, The Dial Press, 352 pp., $28

Doyle was scheduled to speak about “Untamed” on March 17 at The Moore Theater but the event has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns . Check stgpresents.org  for updates.

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Book review: untamed by glennon doyle.

Book review disclaimer: I always start off my book review posts with a little known fact about my tastes in books: I love happy endings. I love romance and am OBSESSED with dystopian/fantasy young adult fiction. I don’t read books usually to feel edified. I want to be entertained and sometimes left with a crazy cliffhanger so that I just have to immediately start the next book in the series. Just keep that in mind when you read my book reviews. I don’t need you to come in the comments for me.

  • Author: Glennon Doyle
  • Hardcover copy from Indie Bookstore ( link )
  • Kindle Ebook ( link )
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Self-Help
  • Synopsis of book: This book is the epitome of “love yourself” no matter what: depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol misuse, divorce, etc. I found this very easy to read and I love how Doyle illuminated on her place of privilege but also examined how she can use that privilege to help others.
  • Sami’s rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Content Rating: Adult-ish – nothing graphic but I think it would be better understood from an adult perspective.

Synopsis from Author

In her most revealing and powerful book yet, the beloved activist, speaker, and author of the bestselling sensations  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 every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder:  Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this?  We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful. We hide our simmering discontent—even from ourselves. Until we reach our boiling point.

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle—bestselling Oprah-endorsed author, renowned activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her 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. Soon she realized that they came to her from within.

Glennon was finally hearing her own voice—the voice that had been silenced by decades of cultural conditioning, numbing addictions, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl Glennon had been before the world told her who to be. She vowed to never again abandon herself. She decided to build a life of her own—one based on her individual desire, intuition, and imagination. She would reclaim her true, untamed self.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender,  Untamed  is both a memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It offers a piercing, electrifying examination of the restrictive expectations women are issued from birth; shows how hustling to meet those expectations leaves women feeling dissatisfied and lost; and reveals that when we quit abandoning ourselves and instead abandon the world’s expectations of us, we become women who can finally look at ourselves and recognize:  There She Is .

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

“We hurt people, and we are hurt by people. We feel left out, envious, not good enough, sick, and tired. We have unrealized dreams and deep regrets. We are certain that we are meant for more and that we don’t even deserve what we have. We feel ecstatic and then numb. We wish our parents had done better by us. We wish we could do better by our children. We betray and are betrayed. We lie and are lied to. We say good-bye to animals, to places, to people we cannot live without. We are so afraid of dying. Also: of living. We have fallen in love and out of love, and people have fallen in love and out of love with us, We wonder if what happened to us that night will mean we can never be touched again without fear. We live with rage bubbling. We are sweaty, bloated, gassy, oily. We love our children, we long for children, we do not want children. We are at war with our bodies, our minds, our souls. We are at war with one another. We wish we’d said all those things while we were still there. They’re still here, and we’re still not saying those things. We know we won’t. We don’t understand ourselves. We don’t understand why we hurt those we love. We want to be forgiven. We cannot forgive. We don’t understand God. We believe. We absolutely do not believe. We are lonely. We want to be left alone. We want to belong. We want to be loved. We want to be loved. We want to be loved.”

This whole paragraph made this book a worthwhile read. All of the contradictions we have in our lives- it’s right there in this book.

After my dear friend Andrea recommended this book to me, I added to it my pile for my next book order (since my preferred book source is our local library and it is closed due to COVID-19). Instead of ordering from Amazon (who is not suffering AT ALL from this pandemic), I purchased it from a local bookstore (#SupportLocalBookstores) and it came in just in time for my beach solo trip to our family condo!

This book was a wild ride. From the opening chapter where Doyle encourages us to be an F%#&@(* Cheetah to the frank discussion she had regarding her privilege as a white woman, this book sucked me in and I finished it in one day. As someone who does not believe in folding page corners as bookmarks, I found myself constantly folding over corners so I can return to her words and wisdom.

Here are few I wanted to share:

I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings of now…” page 51

On America:

I let burn my cherished, comfortable idea of America as a place of liberty and justice for all. I let a truer, wider perspective be born in it’s place, one that included the American experience of people who don’t look like me.” pg. 76

Last one… a perfect description of an introvert:

I am a sensitive, introverted woman, which means that I love humanity but actual human beings are tricky for me. I love people but not in person .” pg. 259

I loved her candor in discussing her divorce, her sobriety, her constant battle with anxiety and depression, and her struggle with her faith, her new-found love, and her parenting shortfalls. Her vulnerability in sharing all of the ugly no matter how simple (like rigging her high school homecoming court) is what makes this special.

As someone who is single and childless, I was shocked that I was nodding my head and agreeing with so much Glennon shared. She has a soothing style that feels like a warm hug; enveloping and a place of comfort. Much like Olaf, I love warm hugs!

Sami Mastrario

The cool aunt. Plant novice who loves to travel to cool places, eat unadventurous food, and take pretty photos.

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reviews for the book untamed

Book Review: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

A few months ago, I was interviewing a man for work when for some reason, and I still can’t work out why, he asked me if I had children.

When I said ‘no’, he, without hesitation, replied with:

“You haven’t lived” .

I was telling a friend in the office about the really odd encounter and she asked.

“At what point did you punch him?”.

Now, to me there were so many problems with this conversation. 

  • I’d been in his company for 20 minutes; we’d never met before. Therefore, he knew sod all about me or what my personal circumstances are and I didn’t find it appropriate.
  • For some reason, he found it perfectly acceptable to pass judgement on my life without knowing the first thing about it.

I didn’t punch him. You might be wondering how did I react? Well, despite being baffled and annoyed at the whole conversation; I ignored it, smiled, continued to be quiet, well behaved and got on with my job. 

I told myself, had I not been working, trying to maintain an air of professionalism and representing the company I work for; I’d have challenged his ridiculous view that for a woman, a life without children is a life not lived, but in all honestly, I don’t think I would have. I think my reaction would always be, smile, be polite, stay quiet, don’t make a fuss, be good.

By this point you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, after all this is meant to be a book review, that incident (and others) played over in my head while reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

I had every right to put him in place but that’s not what girls and women are taught to do. We’re taught to be good, quiet and well behaved. 

If we’re angry we’re volatile, if we’re emotional we’re being silly, if we’re strong willed we’re stubborn; the list goes on. We’re expected to live and strive for a certain way of life.

Glennon Doyle’s third memoir talks about breaking those expectations; listening to ourselves more, trusting ourselves, setting our own boundaries, becoming Untamed.

reviews for the book untamed

From the back

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. 

I haven’t read Doyle’s other memoirs; I didn’t know a whole lot about her before reading this book. She’d spent huge parts of her teen years battling an eating disorder, followed by drug and alcohol addiction. She got sober when she fell pregnant with her first child and married her husband Craig, they had three children. 

Her second memoir Love Warrior details how they tried to save their marriage after he admitted he’d been unfaithful multiple times throughout their marriage. It’s something she touches on in Untamed in an amusing if not depressing story about how she tried to work out what to do….

“I found myself googling what to do if your husband is a cheater but also a really good dad”.

She recognises the absurdity of this, of ignoring her own voice and turning to algorithms and bots for answers. The turning point for Doyle came while she was promoting that book and she met footballer Abby Wambach, who she’s now married to.

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.

This book looks at the aftermath of that, how she upended her entire life and created a blended family.

While it is her own story, it is easy to recognise some of what she is saying about how we’re “tamed” from an early age. She talks about being told the story of Adam and Eve at Sunday school – pretty implicit reminder from the church about what happens if you don’t behave, girls.

I didn’t find any of this book overly groundbreaking, it could feel a bit heavy on ‘inspirational’ quotes in places but it did feel like an honest account of what it’s like to be a woman, we might not like it but there’s a truth to it:

These are the feelings you are allowed to express .

This is how a woman should act.

This is the body you must strive for.

These are the things you will believe.

These are the people you can love.

Those are the people you should fear.

This is the kind of life you are supposed to want. Glennon Doyle

There’s a story I’ve been told by my mum, many times. It’s about one of my parents evenings she attended while I was at Primary school, where the teacher in question told her “she’ll marry well”. No, I didn’t go to school in the 19th century, this was 1992 or something and apparently (at my school at least) that was what you needed to achieve.

I’d spent a lot of 20s believing that we’d come a long way in terms of equality and in many ways we have, however, societal expectations still by and large exist and we are now probably more than ever (thanks social media) bombarded by images and messages when it comes to what kind of lives we should be living and how we should behave.

Basically, in the encounter described above, this dude was telling me ‘that is what you’re supposed to be striving for, play the damn game’ whether that was his intention or not it doesn’t matter. I’m more annoyed that I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say ‘mate, concentrate on your own life, mine is good thank you and lived’ .

I speak as someone who can and will stand up for herself when it comes to most things, who is happy with her body, who isn’t ashamed to let her feelings show, isn’t scared of upsetting others but I guess the messages we grow up with, still cut through on some level. Next time, I won’t shrink and I’ll say what I want 🙂

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radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

3 thoughts on “ Book Review: Untamed by Glennon Doyle ” Leave a comment ›

I absolutely love that cover! This book sounds like it has a great set of lessons, lovely review 🙂

Anika | chaptersofmay.com

Like Liked by 1 person

The cover is fab! It’s an interesting read, a lot of her thoughts around womanhood rang true

Great post! I think the judging of women who don’t have children still goes on (yes, of course we have lived – it may have been a different life compared to women with children, but who says it’s worse?!). This is of course bad enough. But I can’t believe someone you barely knew would say something like that, perhaps he was trying to provoke you? Hope you will manage to speak up, if you should ever experience something similar.

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