If there were ever a book that could shift one’s perspective or path in life, Glennon Doyle’s Untamed might be it.
There’s no question that Glennon’s writing has always made us feel a little less alone. Collectively I think we’ve become tired, as women, of The Narrative. You know the one—where life unfolds seamlessly from birth to Growing Up to Finding Love to Settling Down to Family to Death. The one where no one talks about any of the in-between points, but rather only the destinations.
That narrative, as I’m sure life has reminded you (it has me), is fiction. Which is perhaps why this book by Glennon Doyle—which I guess might techinically have to fall under the Self Help section but might better be housed under the Religious Writings section. Because damn it if there aren’t some revelations that will rock your soul.
So let’s dig in. These are the five reasons Untamed might be the book that lives on your shelf forever.
One of the guiding concepts of the book is that there is a little wild in all of us. A part of us that longs to break free from The Narrative. That realizes at one point in our lives that the cages we live in are merely constructs.
To me, this doesn’t mean you have to break from tradition in your life or drastically alter your life’s course to feel alive again; but rather that we would all we well served to remember that the only true compass we need in life is the one that we were born having, innately, in our souls.
For me, this is the essay “Aches,” where, by its end, Glennon comes to discuss the passing of her grandmother.
The title of the passage is a description of that deep pull in our souls and guts that every Empath or Big Feeler knows so well. The one that comes during life’s big moments—ours or others’—and pulls at us, reminding us of the beauty and the pain and the struggle and the glory that is life.
For me, The Ache is always there in moments of quiet. It’s taking in the sunset as I try to find the edge of the horizon. It’s there as I comb my daughter’s hair, as I’m transported back to the days when I was in her chair. It’s in the big moments—the births and the deaths—but it’s also there in the little ones, too, if we are still enough, for long enough.
Please bookmark this essay when you get the book. A passage that moves me deeply from it goes like this:
“The Ache is not a flaw. The Ache is our meeting place. It’s the clubhouse of the brave. All the lovers are there. It is where you go alone to meet the world. The Ache is love.
The Ache was never warning me: This ends, so leave. She was saying: This ends, so stay.” —Glennon Doyle, Untamed
My God. There is so much more of this goodness in the book.
As the parent of a boy and two girls, I try to be conscious that they deserve equal treatment, but that there are also inherent and biological reasons that boys (who become men) and girls (who become women) must also be parented in ways that respect these innate differences.
You’ll walk away from “Boys” with an understanding of the unhealthy expectations we’ve placed on our boys, and maybe a new way to talk with your own son about them.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) this book digs into the constructs we’ve built around this force that many believe governs our world. And you’ll stop calling it a He. (And this, I think, will be good.)
Not everyone’s fairytale unwinds the same, and surely we will all benefit when we realize that. Glennon’s own personal story involves addiction, anxiety, divorce and re-marriage to a woman, and she walks us through reflections on her life that helped her realize what she wanted.
In this book, we witness someone living out her truth, implicitly giving us permission to do the same.
If nothing else, think of Untamed as a bit of a guide to your soul, a way to scrape away the layers of the world’s expectations, and find, once again, who you always have been.
Have you read Untamed? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop in on Comments below!