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Finding the strength to blaze one’s own path: Encouragement and reminders in Glennon Doyle’s Untamed

I am glad that I got to read this book as my first book of 2021, it had been on my TBR(to be read) list for five months. My first time coming across Glennon’s name was when someone I follow on Twitter gushed about how Untamed was such a transformative book. Curiosity got the better of me and in the spirit of expanding my reading horizons this year, I took a chance and purchased this book. Untamed is different from the books that I usually read, in terms of genre, themes and writing style. It’s a light read that I managed to complete in three sittings.


Author’s Profile

Glennon Doyle is an American writer born in Burke, Virginia. Before being a published writer, she was known as the online writer of the Momastery blog which she started in 2009. She is now also known for her two other works Carry On Warrior (2013), a New York Times Bestseller and Love Warrior 2016, a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Untamed (2020) is also a #1 New York Times Bestseller. An activist and speaker, she lives in Florida with her family.


My Thoughts

Overally, this is a free flowing, linguistically simple and emphatic memoir. Glennon writes about living freely and being unashamed of feeling it all. She takes us through her life story and ‘awakening.’ For Glennon, living a free life doesn’t mean having it altogether. It means doing it even when you are afraid, broken and out. This is a book about self discovery and growth. As the writer says, ‘Stop pleasing and start living.’ There are some parts of the book which were uneven, especially in the beginning as it took some time to get into the issues that give the book some value. Despite that, the message is loud and clear; you need to find the keys to the cage you have been locked in and return to your wild, untamed life.

I found the Glennon and Abby story over scattered and overwhelming throughout the book such that at times, I wondered if the book was just about her love and adoration for Abby. However, it does make sense because Abby is an integral part of Glennon’s ‘untamed’ story. The book is divided into three parts; Caged, Keys and Free.

What I like about this book is that it is not one of those ‘fix your life here and now, if you don’t you are doomed,’ books. It is a book that fosters reflection and in some instances transformation. Glennon nudges the reader without being a pushover, to see beyond what has been deemed structurally impossible. We have been caged by society in more ways than one and sometimes we don’t even realize that we are living in boxes. To face the truth one needs to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is not a dirty word, it shouldn’t be, if anything it should be the lens which we use to view ourselves, it allows us to be kind to ourselves and others. It gives us room to recognize those things about ourselves that we neatly fold, pack and hide in a corner. As I read this book I wondered if the author was aware that there is only so much that one can do and that so many factors that require dismantling stand in the way of liberation. I had to be real with myself, be alive to the space I am in and some harsh truths; context.

The key question that this body of work consistently switches on in the reader’s mind is, is it possible for one to live a true and free life while blindly following someone else’s footsteps? Be kind to yourself, unfold, learn and relearn. Packing emotions, feelings and thoughts from a place of kindness is liberating and a worthwhile experience. Liberation is not guaranteed because of my vulnerability and that is a truth that I can not hide from. The reader is encouraged to destroy the ‘good enough’ and focus on building the true which will always be held and free whenever it is brought to the table. One is encouraged to be brave (which means different things to different people). So to be vulnerable and finding your bravery is also an act of faith. The suggested keys are; to feel it all, to be still and know, to dare to imagine, build and burn.

I had a difficult time coming up with quotes that mirror what the memoir is about without making this review a spoiler. The book is not completely lost to me because during my Untamed exploration I found some valuable lessons and reminders. So, here are my top 5 quotes from the book:

1. Returning to ourselves is confusing at first. It’s not as simple as listening for the voices inside of us. Because sometimes the voices inside of us, which we’ve assumed speak Truth, are just the voices of human beings who told us what to believe. (page 250)

2. I will not stay, not ever again – in a room or conversation or relationship or institution that requires me to abandon myself. (page 342)

3. That is what I can and must avoid: missing my own evolution because I am too afraid to surrender to the process. (page 52)

4. Brave means living from the inside out. Brave means in every uncertain moment, turning inward, feeling for the Knowing and speaking it out aloud. (page 105)

5. Gender is not wild, it’s prescribed. When we say, “Girls are nurturing and boys are ambitious. Girls are soft and boys are tough. Girls are emotional and boys are stoic,” we are not telling truths, we are sharing beliefs – beliefs that have become mandates. (page 164)

The hype for this book was overbearing, it’s still a good book nonetheless. I see what it could mean to others and what Glennon is advocating for. I also see why this book is a bestseller, having sold over one million copies worldwide in less than six months. I just come from a different background, I don’t have certain privileges in my stack of cards and have to often face the hand that I am dealt. If you are looking for something to encourage or remind you to pursue your freedom and face the year ahead with renewed energy, I recommend this book. Untamed is a gentle reminder that rebirth means death and that we can do hard things.


Book Details

Title: Untamed

Author: Glennon Doyle

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 352

Publisher: Vermilion; 1st edition (March 2020)

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Other titles by author:


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