Reviews for Untamed

by Glennon Doyle

Publishers Weekly
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Motivational speaker Doyle (Love Warrior) writes of divorcing her husband, finding love with Olympic soccer player Abby Wambach, and coming out to family and fans in this inspirational memoir. Doyle's previous book concerned her attempt to heal her strained relationship with her husband, Craig, after she learned he cheated on her, and here she picks up the narrative a few years later, as she starts fresh with the attitude that it’s better to disappoint other people than to disappoint oneself. She talks about meeting Abby, while still married to Craig, at a book conference and instantly falling for her (“I put my hand on her arm. Electrical currents”), dissolving her marriage and raising her three kids in a blended family with Abby and Craig, and pulling back from her Christian faith. “I will not stay, not ever again—in a room or conversation or relationship or institution that requires me to abandon myself,” Doyle declares. The book is filled with hopeful messages and encourages women to reject the status quo and follow their intuition. “It’s a lifelong battle for a woman to stay whole and free in a world hell bent on caging her,” she writes. This testament to female empowerment and self-love, with an endearing coming-out story at the center, will delight readers. (Mar.)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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.Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Doyle is an activist, speaker, and best-selling author. Those who are new to her work may be pleasantly surprised to discover how much her powerful personality shines through every page. She is a terrific storyteller: personable, engaging, and likable. Her honesty can be disarming. She reveals at the start that four years ago when she was still married to her husband and the mother of three children, she fell in love with a woman, which not only upended her life for the better, it also made her feel alive for the first time since she was 10 years old. “Ten is when children begin to let go of who they are in order to become what the world expects them to be,” she writes. She became bulimic and was admitted to a mental hospital. "I understand myself differently now,” she says. Whether discussing her children or the world outside, challenging conformity, confronting misogyny, or standing up to religious bigotry, her goal as a memoirist (and as a person) is to defy expectations and to help others break out of their cultural cages so that everyone can find their own version of humanity. A bracing jolt of honesty from someone who knows what she wants to say and isn’t afraid to say it.WOMEN IN FOCUS

Library Journal
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Activist, feminist, and inspirational speaker Doyle explores her journey from self-loathing through her search for perfection and then to finding and listening to her untamed inner truth. She points out that society has very strict rules and beliefs about behaviors based on gender, religion, and origin, and that our parents, our friends, and the media tame us by telling us how we should act, who we should be regardless of what is wild, natural, and free. As a floundering young adult struggling with anorexia, alcoholism, and self-destructive behaviors, Doyle discovered that she was pregnant. She decided to get married, settle down, and straighten out her life. After years of throwing herself into childcare and church, she found that she was unable to forgive her husband for having an affair. After counseling, promises, and a tour promoting a book about overcoming adversity, Doyle unexpectedly found herself attracted to a kind, exciting woman. Now her former husband, her new wife, and Doyle raise their kids in an unconventional but fulfilling manner. In this memoir, Doyle shares entertaining glimpses into episodes of her life that released her from being the nice girl who followed the codes, did everything for her kids, and lived within the world's preconceived notions. She extols the evil of gender roles both boys and girls are expected to fit into and elucidates her hands-off approach to allowing her children to be themselves—even in moments when she may not like them. Often humorous and even self-deprecating, the author writes and reads as if she is giving a series of only partially sequential speeches on a variety of topics. As concepts overlap, listeners will hear numerous repetitions of phrases and reiterations of the author's positions, but the overall effect is as if she is just conversing with them. VERDICT Doyle narrates as well, providing an engaging performance that may inspire listeners to wonder who they really are, how they have been tamed, and what they can do to break away from what feels wrong.—Lisa Youngblood, Harker Heights P.L., TX