Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Book Review: Carry On, Warrior:Thoughts on Life Unarmed, by Glennon Doyle Melton
by Glennon Doyle Melton
In the parenting sandbox that has become the Internet, one can usually find two types of people.
There are those who, through their websites and blogs, paint a picture of a life so saccharine perfect that you need to leave the room for some air.
(None of you or your blogs fall into this category, of course.)
And then there are people who are all raw emotion - and then some. Through their words, we come to know these individuals better than we know our own friends and relatives- and sometimes that's a good thing. Their bravery allows them to bare their souls as they tell the unvarnished truth about their lives.
In her new book, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, Glennon Doyle Melton falls into the latter camp - for the most part. (More on that in a bit.) As the cover proclaims, she's the founder of Momastery.com, an immensely popular blog, website, and Facebook page (she has over 73,000 likes!) that I am obviously the last person in the world to find out about.
As she writes in this collection of essays from her blog (as well as new material), Glennon is the type of person who sits down next to another sippy-cup clutching mom in the park and immediately reveals that she's a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, among other things.
Glennon's philosophy is that when women remove all the pretense and the barriers, when we strip away the illusion that we have our shit together in our perfect lives, when we take away the layers of protection that we women are so good at creating in real life (and online), that's when life gets really good and interesting.
Well, that it does.
We know Glennon pretty well by the end of Carry On, Warrior, as there isn't too much she leaves hidden - including that of the lives of several of her family members. But she's also funny as hell and tells much of this motherhood gig like it is. As an example, one of her gone-viral essays, "Don't Carpe Diem", was sent to me as a sample of those in the book when I was considering this for review. (I was sold immediately.)
I can't quote from this (or another favorite essay, "Out to Lunch," about visiting her husband Craig's office with their toddler son) because my copy of Carry On, Warrior is an advanced reader's copy (ARC) and changes may have been made to the final text.
Glennon is at her best in these and other "keepin' it real" examples. At other times, I felt that she strayed a bit from this premise. It's clear from the essays selected within the book that, because of her past experience, faith is a very important component to her present life. (Fans of Anne Lamott's will find common ground here, and Glennon seems very aware of the comparison.) Glennon is very open about her relationship with God and her beliefs as a Christian. I can certainly understand and respect that, but for readers who don't share the same faith, several of the essays that have this strong focus could seem slightly off-putting and perhaps even contradictory, seeming to support the notion of perfectionism that is denounced in earlier pages.
Overall, Carry On, Warrior succeeds as an outreach avenue in Glennon Doyle Melton's ministry that she practices on her blog, complementing her mantra to "practice living bigger, bolder and truer on this earth, where we remember what we already know: we can do hard things, love wins, and we belong to each other." This collection of essays will endear her even more to her legion of fans and surely lead her to new ones.
The Betty and Boo Chronicles Facebook page. (You probably have to follow the Facebook page first, if you haven't already.)
I'll pick a winner next Monday, April 15. (Something to look forward to besides taxes here in the United States.)
Still need convincing? See what other bloggers on the TLC Book Tour had to say about Carry On, Warrior.
Thank you, as always, to TLC Book Tours for including me on this book tour. I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review and was not otherwise compensated.