• Poppy Wonnacott

Book Check-in: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

I started the year with five books on the go. Yes, five. One I have no desire to dive back into but I will because my pedantic ways aren’t comfortable with being defeated by it. I mean I managed to read the highbrow nightmare that is ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce. Yes, I really did. Yes, it took three attempts. Was it worth it? Hmm, it’s a tricky read with very stylised prose. I read it as being about a person having a nervous breakdown. Although the point of the novel might be to make the reader feel like they were having a nervous breakdown. Regardless, I didn’t enjoy it or its cleverness.

Moving on! The first book I finished this year was one that made me laugh, flinch and pull quotes of out to repeat to clients. It’s ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle. I knew nothing about the author, but had seen some of her quotes popping up on my Insta feed. And in January 2022, whilst painting a wall, a long wall, I listened to the audiobook.

Glennon hooked me in with the story of a ‘tamed’ cheetah. It lived in obedient captivity and yet it got wild when no one was watching. I loved this analogy. Though I have to say, I'm not into spaces where wild creatures are imprisoned for human entertainment. But back to the book: are we hiding our true selves under this 'nice' and acceptable facade for society? Do we need to re-wild ourselves? I felt many people will resonate with Glennon because they don't feel free or safe enough to be their natural selves.

Over the chapters Glennon shares, in memoir style, how she came to be the present version of her ‘untamed’ self. And yes, it involves her stepping out of her comfort zone. The book slips between subjects like being brave, or doing more for yourself. I know many women readers will resonate as she covers some of these topics.

There are lots of reflective moments in the book. Like how she one day notices the difference in the way she raises her children because of their genders. Or the occasional unflinching observation from her journey from addiction to sobriety. Or her openness as she realises she's fallen in ‘real’ love for the first time and then comes out as a 40 year old women.

There were some subject matters in here which were flinch-making for me to read. But that may have been the point of including them. Sometimes we need to take a look at our good intentions from someone else's perspective.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, but (and oh who doesn't love a 'but') it depends what you’re looking for. If you’re someone who has always done the right or acceptable thing but don’t feel content with your path, then yes. Because this can serve as a reminder to have the courage to step out and break free. It's a reminder from Glennon for you to be brave, to 'untame' yourself.

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