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.
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.
on November 19, 2014
Very good book with solid biblical perspective for teens! Gives ideas about how to navigate growing up while maintaining moral character! My teenage daughter and I both read it and we really enjoyed it! Highly recommend!!
on August 29, 2014
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.
on May 1, 2014
I bought this book to read so that I could see a little more into how the Duggars work, especially the oldest girls. My husband and I have a teenage daughter, and I'm intrigued by the courtship aspect. I love how Jim Bob and Michelle use their own past mistakes to teach their children in a loving way, and that the children can go to their parents about anything anytime, day or night. It's obvious that these girls know what they want, and that they're just like most Christians today: trying their best to live their lives for the glory of the Lord. I also gave this book to our daughter to read, because I think she can glean a lot from it. There is some mention of pornography, but it's not enough that I'd turn anyone off from buying the book.
The only real downside for me is that there are some similarities in some stories that are in this book, and in their parents' books. I wish they'd have told more stories that hadn't been previously mentioned, but I guess if you don't read the 2 books by Jim Bob and Michelle, it's not going to make any difference for you. It's still an enjoyable book.
on September 12, 2014
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.
on August 10, 2015
The writing quality is okay, but it's much more religious than I thought. I have watched the show since Day 1, and bought it to learn more about the Duggars' lifestyles, but couldn't get through all the spiritual preaching that the girls do. Also, much of it is written like "our parents have told us that...." or "mom and dad make sure that we know....", making it seem like these are not original thoughts, but opinions relayed from their parents.
on March 8, 2016
I picked up this book because I wanted to know what it was like to grow up Duggar. That is not actually this book. Like I said in my comments, this is more of a Christian themed self-help/relationship advice book. i decided to read it anyway. I sometimes like that kind of thing.
This book is focused on relationships, like how to have better relationships with yourself, your family, your spouse, your world, etc. It was pretty insightful overall and it was fun because there were still a lot of Duggar anecdotes and so it was a neat little insight into their world.
I respect the Duggars a lot because of their beliefs. Even though their religion isn't exactly what I believe, I was still able to grow and learn from this book. Sometimes I had to turn off my worldly filter that was like, this is ridiculous, and church is for Sundays and remember that we need to live our religion every day. This is what the Duggars do and that's why I respect them a lot, even if they take it kind of to an extreme sometimes.
That is one thing I didn't enjoy about this book. Every once in a while there was something, just so extreme or something that i would jsut cringe, like that's cult like, or i don't believe that, or I can't believe you do that. Sometimes, it's really obvious that the Duggar children have no frame of reference for what they are talking about so they are jsut kind of parroting something they heard some where. Like they'll say for example, "all X is bad," when they have no idea what X really is, so how can they say it's all bad. It's just clear they have no idea how the world really works some times.
Like there was this one part where they were talking about sex. I am a firm believer in No sex before marriage, but they got pretty intense when they said something like "Sex outside of marriage leads to darkness destruction and death." I'm exaggerating a smidge, but not by much. Not all sex outside of marriage leads to STDs and so I feel like by saying it leads to death and destruction they kind of missed the whole point. I just wanted sex to be something I saved for my husband because it is this really intimate special moment, but I don't think all premarital sex leads to death and destruction, lol. Over-exaggeration of consequences like this leads to people not taking you seriously and also overshadows a real message.
Another thing I noticed with all my cringes was that they had a pattern. A lot of the things I didn't agree with had to with a parental relationship. Like when they talked about Obeying your parents with out hesitation or talking about your dating relationships with your parents and trusting their judgement on that. I noticed that I obviously have some heavy issues with my own relationship with my parents and parental control. I mean I already knew I did, but this book kind of brought it back to my attention. Sp that was kind of a valuable thing I learned from this book.
Anyway, overall I enjoyed reading this book, but it was kind of hard to rate, because it wasn't what I was expecting, it's not what I typically read, and I wouldn't have picked it up by choice if I had known what it was about. So part of me thinks higher than 3 stars, but part of me like, doesn't want to give any stars, so 3 stars it is.
on February 13, 2016
I recommend this book to everyone. These girls are so inspirational for me and this book is like my second bible. I have always love the duggar family and reading this book opens up my eyes even more. I truly thank them from the heart for sharing all that they have in their book. I hope they continue to help more people along the way.
on October 18, 2014
I have read it twice now I love the book and would recommend this to any mother or teen (even boys?). I think this book can be a great food for thought to help those making choices about their lives. In the world we live in I think we need to think long and hard about how we are living our lives and raising our children even if our end goal is not to have 19 kids or engage in courtships.