Book review of ‘Untamed’

April 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jessica laurenza (Just ask jess)

In her raw, emotional, yet hilarious memoir Untamed, Glennon Doyle recounts small victories and pitfalls in her life that have shaped her mindset and steered the course of her life. Through struggle and eventual healing, Doyle heart-wrenchingly leaves readers with advice based off her own experiences.

Voted “One of the Best Books of the Year” by Oprah and part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club, Untamed shows readers what happens when we stop trying to meet other people’s expectations and start living for ourselves. She uses personal stories of gender inequity, racism, divorce, parental struggles, and sexuality to trace her journey of becoming her authentic self. She asked herself “what [she] wanted instead of what the world wanted from [her].” 

The biggest aspect I took away from the book was to live from imagination not indoctrination. You’re raised surrounded by cultural expectations and you try to shape yourself to fit inside a mold. Instead, Doyle encourages people to abandon these arbitrary societal norms and be who you want to be regardless of someone’s expectations for you. She uses examples like being a selfless mother because that’s what society thinks a good mother is comprised of or avoiding familial issues to uphold its structure. Speak your truth even if those around you don’t agree with it. 

I’m not the biggest fan of non-fiction books that just preach a particular topic because I find it gets repetitive and somewhat annoying. This is nothing like that, although I expected it to be. Every single chapter holds a message that is universally applicable. You don’t need to be a woman going through a divorce or someone questioning their sexuality to relate to topics Doyle talks about. Her anecdotes always circle back to something everyone needs to know – how to love yourself before loving anyone else. 

I love a novel with short chapters because it makes me think I’m reading the book so fast. Doyle’s personal stories keep each chapter short and sweet while ensuring that her leave-behind message is clear. However, if you want to get the most out of this novel, I’d recommend highlighting or bookmarking certain chapters or paragraphs that stood out to you (and trust me, there’s a lot). 

One downfall readers could glean from this book is how some of her opinions are written as if they are facts. This book contains strong attitudes of feminism and individuality and sometimes her more extreme ideas come off as aggressive, so just read these sections with caution. Anytime she voiced her opinion on a controversial topic, she did so with a side of humour which I think was to take away from the bluntness of her statements. But some people won’t find the humour in specific statements so just look out for things like this. That said, I enjoyed the point-blank statements because it goes to show how she really doesn’t care what society makes of her as long as she’s becoming the person she strives to be. 

Carry On Warrior and Love Warrior are Doyle’s two other memoirs written prior to Untamed so if you enjoy this read, definitely backtrack and read her other works. Even though Untamed was the last of the three stories to be released, I would recommend reading it first because it embodies Doyle’s entire journey. Her and her sister also founded a non-profit, boots-on-the-ground organization called Together Rising, which turns collective heartbreak into effective action. Their most recent focus is on reuniting families who have been torn apart at the US border, raising over $10 million. 

If you don’t end up reading Untamed, just know that “you are a goddamn cheetah.” And if you do read it, you’ll find out why I just wrote that. 

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