Recap: It’s really impossible for me to write what this book is about without including one of my favorite nuggets of astonishing, brain-exploding goodness. So here you go:
“We weren’t born distrusting and fearing ourselves. That was part of our taming. We were taught to believe that who are in our natural state is bad and dangerous. They convinced us to be afraid of ourselves. So we do not honor our own bodies, curiosity, hunger, judgment, experience, or ambition. Instead, we lock away our true selves. Women who are best at this disappearing act earn the highest praise: She is so selfless. Can you imagine? The epitome of womanhood is to lose one’s self completely. That is the end goal of every patriarchal culture. Because a very effective way to control women is to convince women to control themselves.”Untamed by Glennon Doyle
So did it? Did your brain just explode? Because mine did the first time I read that. And the second and the third. And the thousandth. Because nearly every page of Glennon Doyle’s newest book Untamed did this for me. It woke me up. It woke me up to the some of the misogyny, racism and general fuckery of the world in which we live. I cried on page three. Those damn cheetahs. (Read it. You’ll see what I mean.)
With this book, Glennon Doyle took her platform as an already-bestselling author and speaker to up the ante of every person who reads it. She has an insane ability and power to say the things we [mainly women, but not strictly women] have all thought, but have never quite been able to put in words in a way that makes sense. A very untamed Glennon Doyle makes sense with words in a world that doesn’t make sense.
Analysis: If you pay attention to the literary world, I don’t have to tell you who Glennon Doyle is. She is a powerhouse bestselling author and has been for years. If you’ve never heard of her, she’s a bestselling author who is also married to the super famous female soccer player Abby Wambach.
That’s how I described her to my friend when I tried to explain why she should read Untamed. Associations are helpful, and learning that the author of a book is an amazing writer is usually not enough to hook people in. To become hooked, people need to be told something sensational or scandalous. I don’t think Doyle’s and Wambach’s marriage or love story is scandalous, but I do think it’s sensational in its beauty and honesty and excitement surrounding two powerhouses in partnership. It’s the Beyonce/Jay-Z effect.
Doyle writes about it beautifully in Untamed. The book doesn’t have a plot or a clearly developed story with a beginning, middle and end. And that’s the whole point. The book itself is untamed to mirror its title and content. It’s all over the place, sharing vignettes about Doyle’s marriages, children, addictions and lessons learned. There’s no timeline or order, which makes it great. The coming together of her and Wambach feels like the closest the book gets to a through line in terms of a continued story. Doyle details how they met, how their love blossomed, how she went public with it, how partnering with Wambach changed her perspective, her relationships and the course of her life.
This and so many other stories become the jumping off point for her larger themes about feminism, self-empowerment and activism. It’s a memoir and a self-help book that shares so intimately Doyle’s story with healthy doses of why we are the way we are and how we can be better for ourselves, each other and humanity as a whole.