119 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2014
I delayed buying this book because of the initial negative reviews it received, and I regret following the advice of those reviewers. Several people suggested that the girls aren't allowed to have "true emotions," and that they put a falsely positive spin on all of their relationships and the situations they write about. I actually found the opposite to be true of this book.
I sometimes feel that on the TV show and in other Duggar interviews/books, it does seem difficult to relate to their lives, even for other Christians, because of the strict rules they've set for themselves and their behavior. I agree with their philosophies on a lot of things, but I'm not ready to wall myself off from secular society, including its media or its citizens. I have long suspected that the true Duggar life is both more political and also less closed off from society than we see on the TV show, and I found this book to finally give us insight into a more accurate depiction of their lives.
As Jill is on the verge of getting married to a man who didn't grow up in the Gothard culture, I think we have further evidence to show that the Duggar family isn't as judgmental or rigid as other reviewers of this book are leading us to believe. The family itself deviates from multiple Gothard stances, and I believe they're proponents of the idea that as long as Jesus and the Bible are your center, you can take or leave the rest of it. I think this book sticks with that message.
The girls write about having friends outside of the family, political issues (as other reviewers mentioned), and issues with siblings that cut deeper than "aw shucks, Jedidiah took my last jellybean but I was glad to bless him and forgave him instantly." I think that above all though it provides really solid advice to young parents who want to raise children within a Jesus-centered household. Honestly, even for people who aren't religious, as a parenting book, the girls give good tips on supporting siblings, being kind, and showing respect for their parents.
Jim Bob and Michelle don't look at the kids as an "us vs. them," and I think this outlook speaks to the clear level of respect they continue to receive, even from their adult children. This book helps to articulate the steps they took to make that respect their reality.
I definitely agree that this book isn't for kids, and I think that marketing it to "girls," really means "young ladies like the authors." I think the age bracket that would benefit the most from this book are ages 16+ (those entering the stage of potentially having a serious relationship) and also young adults who are starting the journey of parenting. I do think that there are mature themes in the book that might be inappropriate for a younger audience, but I feel that as with any media, parents should screen it first with their particular child in mind.
I was pleasantly surprised with this read as it was the first of the Duggar materials that showed me their ability to bridge their values with their participation in the outside world. Once again, I HIGHLY recommend it to Christian parents or parents who are interested in avoiding sibling bickering, back talking, or the "friend/foe" culture so many families find themselves in of parents vs. children.
239 of 279 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I bought this on kindle for my 11 year old as I figured she could surely come away with a few worthwhile words of wisdom from the Duggar girls. I have read both of the family's previous books, we watch the show, and I really appreciate many things I have garnered from Michelle and Jim Bob in doing so. I almost gave the book to her without reading it myself beforehand, but for some reason I cracked into it first and I am glad I did. Although the premise of esteem and relationship building etc is very needed at a tween age, I felt some of the discussions on abortion and mentions of pornography also included were a little more mature of conversations than I wanted my daughter to run across in a book. Unfortunately they were mentioned enough that I felt it overshadowed the parts I would prefer her to focus on. As it's difficult to say, "hey I need you to skip these chapters", without opening the can of worms by explaining why, I am probably going to shelve this book for her until she is closer to 13-14. It is obvious, simply by their family structure that the Duggars are extremely anti-abortion, so I wish they could have left a lot of that out of the book if it was targeted to "girls". I really don't feel like my daughter needs a crash course on partial birth abortion which is also discussed in a few places. I wasn't expecting such a hot button topic to be a central theme of more than one chapter (if at all).
Without delving into which of their stances I personally agree or disagree with,I would like to mention the following: 1) this book goes far deeper into a politically charged realm than the books written by Michelle and Jim, 2) it definitively has a different "tone" than the other books. I hesitate to say it's pretty judgmental as I feel that wasn't their purpose, but some could find it off putting as it clearly has a deeply moral tone throughout. They have a very different set of experiences and outlooks than a lot of people and seem to have simplistic resolutions that you can just pray away any and all problems. There isn't a lot of room for variety of thought here, which I found to be quite different from the previous books which managed to make clear their path, but did it in a non-judgmental way. Previous books had more of a "take what you will" respectful tone whereas I felt the girls took more of a "this is what you need to do to be Christian" tone. I attribute much of it to youth and perhaps using a different ghost writer or editor.
I wouldn't say those are reasons to not buy the book as I found it very interesting in parts, but simply felt they were worth mentioning. Do not expect that you are simply buying another chapter of Michelle's and Jim's easy going books. These girls clearly have their own agenda and way of delivering it which isn't a bad thing at all, just be prepared. Again, I would caution against blindly handing this over to your ten year old simply because " the Duggars wrote it so it must be fine for everyone". It has some topics you may either want to censor or at least have some input on as your child reads it.
136 of 175 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2014
I've never seen a Duggar TV show, read another Duggar book, nor anything else by the Duggars. So when I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, I dived into reading with no previous opinions of the family.
The first thing I noticed was that even though the book is supposedly by four girls, it reads as if it was written by a single person. There is no difference in voice, expression, personality, or opinion. They even use the same odd clichés, such as "share our heart" (meaning to speak candidly). When I flipped to the Acknowledgments page, I discovered why. A writer named Charlie Richards is the actual author who penned the book after interviewing the young women.
This is not an insider's look at a family of 19 and counting. Rather, it is a collection of events that happened while growing up, peppered with a whole lot of advice on how to be a good child and how to be a good parent. (Another indication that the book actually written by an older adult.)
The best audience for this book is teenage girls. They can glean wisdom from the Duggars, such as how to handle an annoying sibling, how to respectfully disagree with your parents, dealing with anger, managing peer pressure, forming opinions on opposite sex relationships, dressing modestly, and more.
A secondary audience is parents who can also pick up some good ideas. For example, on page 36-37 is a list of questions to ask your children in order to get them to open up and discuss life's important issues. That alone could be worth the price of the book. Additionally, it might be helpful to read excerpts aloud to the family and then discuss your own responses to these situations. There are plenty of stories with which to agree and disagree in order to get the conversation rolling and then segue into forming your own family's guidelines and policies.
My favorite element of this book is that all the girls participate in ministry and/or charity work. In so doing, they provide an example and inspiration for other young people.
God bless you, Duggar girls. And next time, I'd like to read a book that was actually written by one of you--preferably after the age of 35 when you've had time to acquire an independent perspective.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2014
I recently finished reading this book, and overall, I thought it was good. I can definitely see myself sharing it with my girls when they are older. I am also a Christian, who holds many of the principles and values that the Duggars do. However, in the first few pages, I was taken back with the part when they were sharing...."maybe you are the girl who has tatoos and (nose rings? couldn't remember)....." I thought, "Whoa, what if I am that girl, or the mom or grandma of that girl and I read that as I began reading this book out of curiosity!" It comes across as judgmental, even though I know that these young ladies probably didn't mean it that way. There was another part where they talked about their dad and that his hobby was "his kids." They shared that he didn't own a boat, have guy friends, etc. Again, this can be taken offensively, because there is nothing wrong with owning a boat or having guy friends if you're a dad. I consider both my dad and husband as very good Christian fathers who love their kids. Both have had to work two jobs at some point in their lives to give their children a home and good education. They showed love to their kids when they were home. Jim Bob has the opportunity to be at home more because of his financial status (good hard work and wise planning at the beginning of adulthood.) God has blessed them in a way so that he can be home. But, I will say, it is okay for a Dad to have friends, whether it is just an hour to meet someone for coffee (and ministry) or just to get some fresh air. All in all, good book---wouldn't call it great in the writing style--but, could have been more careful that their standards and the way they do things come across as too judgmental.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was expecting this book to talk about the girls beliefs and any struggles they have have encountered with maitainig these beliefs in the midst of our current society. Unfortunately, much of the book ended up just preaching to the reader about how they believe the reader should act, as opposed to providing an explanation for and examples of their beliefs and lifestyle.
39 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
With a title like "Growing Up Duggar" I thought this book would be about the experiences of growing up in a big family, instead this book reads as a judgemental advice column written by four very sheltered girls (heavily influenced, or completely written by their parents) who have no business giving advice to anyone. I know this is a very religious family so I expected a lot of Godly influence, but the comments they make about people who are not "like them" are borderline offensive. These girls have no worldly experience outside of their very carefully curated little bubble. They go as far as implying a dad does not love his daughter if he does not dictate who she can and cannot date/court, and that someone with tattoos or piercings needs help. It's too bad this book focused more on judgement disguised as advice rather than the experiences growing up in this family. I suggest reading a sample of this book before purchasing.
37 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Don't waste your money on this book. The Duggar girls do not actually share what it was like "growing up Duggar". Everything is sugar-coated and whitewashed to be just as it is shown on TV. Most of the book preaches to fellow Christians and talks in generalities. The few personal examples I read were about silly childish things like how to deal with a sibling taking your cupcake or changing outfits multiple times because nothing in the closet is "cute" enough for church--hardly serious struggles in life. Other few examples found were the same items featured in episodes from the shows. There was no real substance in their stories and absolutely nothing new was conveyed. No Duggar has ever gone through any trial or temptation that is shared in this book (and how could they given the amount of control exerted by their parents?). The book would have been more authentic if they had. They merely relate a few general hardship stories about so-called "friends" who are really just acquaintances they briefly ran across in a prison visit or while witnessing a birth in a non-believer's home (you see, the Duggars are not allowed by their parents to actually socialize with anyone that is not like-minded), or they tell scare-tactic stories they heard from their parents usually about the parents' childhood "friends". Again, the Duggar girls reveal nothing of any substance about themselves or the "perfect" family they want you to believe they have. Also it is obvious this is not authored by the girls themselves. They express thanks to an individual, presumably the author, in the opening of the book for interviewing them and putting down their thoughts. What's sad is the author of this book did such an unprofessional job! There are so many inconsistencies and grammatical errors. It's also hard to believe that all four girls share all the same views on everything, of course in complete step with their parents. It feels disingenuous. This is probably because the book just preaches the same character traits and other teachings of Bill Gothard, the alleged child predator currently under investigation who has led the Duggars' patriarchal cult for decades. Much of the Duggar girls' "words of wisdom" are taken word-for-word from Bill Gothard's IBLP and ATI materials. So, these are not ideas generated by the Duggar girls or their family, but rather ones they've been taught to parrot since birth being raised in this cult. Beyond reciting definitions, the girls do not seem to know how to apply these character traits in their lives, because they haven't been able to experience any real-life situations for themselves. Finally, if you're looking for someone to preach to you or your daughter about modesty, purity, obedience, relationships with society and culture, serving Jesus and putting all others before yourself (last), then I would strongly recommend reading materials by more worthy individuals who actually have lived this life (walked the walk) and model these traits. The Duggar girls (along with their family) exemplify the opposite. They do not work or go to school. They, along with their family circus, put themselves first above others and Jesus, sadly, is last in their hearts. They are multi-millionaires from becoming TV celebrities and selling themselves through books like this one, People and Us magazines, and product placement. They display utter greed with their bridal and baby registries and constantly promote themselves, instead of Jesus, through internet social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, you name it), tv, and the like (which they claim in the book they do not support). I could go on and on with all their hypocrisy. "Do as I say, but not as I do" is the message they convey, and meanwhile they're laughing all the way to the bank. To support their lifestyle, they sell Jesus. Supporting the Duggar clan is their "ministry", not Jesus as they claim. Please don't let them fool you. Just look how they act on TV and in the media, and look where their money is going--not to support Christian charities and other worthwhile causes--but instead to fund vast multi-million dollar real estate holdings for themselves and to support their political ambitions. Everything they do is now for a money-grabbing photo-op. Greed and self-promotion is a sin, and what makes matters worse is that they do it all using the name of Jesus, which the Bible clearly says is an abomination. These girls are no better than their fame-seeking parents, who have taught them well. The Duggars are not raising responsible, giving, selfless children as they claim. The kids know nothing of real-life skills or how to help anyone but themselves. They just know how to style their hair and wear makeup, tanning products and tight-fitting clothes, promote themselves on social media, and of course prepare themselves with a domestic resume for prince charming to rescue them from being sister-moms to their siblings, and do all their thinking for them while they birth the next generation of large families and in turn train their own young daughters to be sister-moms because they won't be able to properly mother their children without full-time, free labor nannies--repeating their own childhood which this book does not honestly reveal. Not one daughter in this family is allowed to pursue college or work that will allow them to ever be able to stand on their own two feet--they are merely allowed to pass their time in very few acceptable (non-educated) ways while waiting for prince charming, who by the way must be hand-picked by daddy. If one of these girls were ever confronted with a real life trial, tragedy or abuse situation, she would be absolutely unprepared! Their way of life is not Biblical, but rather is patriarchal and keeps the parents in control of their children well into adulthood. Most loving parents, once they understand what's really behind the Duggars' and Gothard's teachings, would not want this for their daughters. It is obvious from reading this book that the Duggar daughters who are now technically adults are brainwashed and still very childlike in their thinking for they have never been allowed to experience anything that would develop true character or critical thought. I for one want my four daughters to be full, not lesser, partners in their marriages where they are valued for more than just their ability to breed, and my husband and I are encouraging them to prepare for their future families by getting an education and learning real life skills outside the home so they develop a sense of independence and self-worth and can also help support their families as needed or when god forbid something happens to their husbands (or if God calls them to a single life). And yes it is entirely possible to raise your daughters this way while they stay modest and chaste, if you have taught them well and allow them the opportunity to exercise good judgment for themselves. The Duggar girls have been under lock and key and have not been trusted to spread their wings and follow their faith, so how can their book be taken seriously? It can't. Parents, please be very wary of the underlying teachings of this book and the Duggar messengers, who hold themselves up with legalistic and false teachings contrary to those of Jesus. The Duggars are modern-day Pharisees.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I watch their t.v. show and so when I saw this book I was excited to learn more about them. They are fascinating. It is so hard to believe in this day and age that young women would have these patriarchal views. The sample that I read was misleading. It was written by one voice, not four. You can't get through a paragraph without a preachy sentence. I didn't want to be preached at, I just wanted to learn more about their bizarre life.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A misogynistic view of 21st american female culture. I love watching 19 kids and counting, but I can't stand that women are simply expected to yield their dating and marriage life to their father, and that marriage is viewed as a transaction. I don't think this is a fair view that should be passed on to daughters, sisters and nieces. Not a good model for our young women.
32 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
I need to say, I am not the Duggars' intended audience for this book. I am not a conservative Christian, I am not a teenager. This may color my review. But I have to be honest, I am torn by the book.
I think this book works best when the girls are explaining how family relationships work for them. There are some interesting ideas that they have about how to keep a family of that size running. They explain that there is a lot of discipline involved and obedience, but they explain it in such a way that I understood their point. You can't have 19 children doing what they want to do, when they want to do it, without regard for anyone else. And there were sections about being respectful towards your sibling that would work for smaller families. I appreciated that. And I also enjoyed the parts where they explained how their faith has challenged and helped them. Also interesting were bits about how to talk to people.
Where the book lost me was their assumption that only conservative Christians would read this book and agree with them, and their views. Maybe the person who is reading this book is trying to come a little more closer to God in a lot of ways, but not necessarily politically, but we are asked to vote for the Christian candidate. And I realize, with some sadness that, if the Duggars saw me on the street, they would tell each other "Nike," despite their statements not to judge. I wonder if people have heard them say that to each other as they passed and now know they were passing judgement on them because of their clothes. It would have been nice to include places they find modest clothing; as a parent, I struggle with finding that for myself, as well as for my small daughter; they're the experts in finding cute modest clothes, it would have been nice to share the wisdom. And I probably would have enjoyed a more biographical approach to their story, not the "testimony" that this book came across as.
I struggled with whether or not to review this book, because I realize it's not a book that was really written for adults, it was written for teenagers. I really would like to know their motivation for writing it, what teenagers are they trying to reach? The ones who are already Christians, or the ones who are still figuring out their place in the world? This is not a book which I would hand to my child and let her read without reading it myself first, and then following up her reading with a discussion about how she feels about what they're saying, since our beliefs are not as conservative as theirs.