Untamed by Glennon Doyle (2020)

Annie introduced this book to me, and I loved it. Not familiar with Doyle’s previous memoirs, I had no preconceptions going in. And that was a good thing because this book is primarily about falling in love with her wife, Abby Wambach, and leaving her marriage, whereas her previous memoir was about mending her marriage after her husband cheated on her. I think readers who found such positivity in saving her marriage to Craig (the subject of Love Warrior) only to find out that a few years later she fell in love with a woman were rather shocked. But not having read that “marriage success story,” it was less of a shock and more of a “good for you!” feeling when she met the love of her life while in her 40s and with 3 kids.

So this is Doyle’s series of essays about living a brave life, letting go of societal expectations, and learning to be still—and Know. I especially appreciated the essays on parenting (in which we remove all roadblocks from our children’s lives instead of letting them fail and in which we allow them to ignore chores at home because they’re so busy with their Honors and AP classes that they don’t need to show responsibility toward their family), the ones on phones (sucking the creativity and soul out of everyone), and the ones on gender roles and sexuality (too many thoughts to list). I’ll definitely choose a few to read with my students. And yes, sometimes Doyle makes some sweeping generalizations, and sometimes she’s a bit over the top (such as when she tells her daughter to only listen to herself, which made me wonder what is the line between trusting yourself and turning inward so much that your life becomes too self-centered?) But overall, these essays really made me think, reflect, and question. And that’s what a good essay is supposed to do.

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