Love Warrior

I don't think I have every actually sought out an Oprah Book Club Selection...even back in the day when she was on regular t.v. and not on her own network. I don't know why really, as from what I've read quite a few of them are really good books. And I know Oprah is a reader, just like me. She enjoys learning new things and reading about different people with different lifestyles, etc. But for some reason I have never waited eagerly to see what her next selection is. However, this latest pick caught my attention for some reason.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton moved me. I know that is probably horribly cheesy to admit, and not the best way to start a review, but I had so many emotions while reading it, I'm not really sure where to start! I'm hoping I can at least get my sister to read it so we can have a deep discussion, since she knows everything about me...warts and all...and would probably have some insight on why this book made me feel the way it did. Why it occasionally felt like reading my inner thoughts in someone else's voice. And it will be very hard to give it a good review without getting extremely personal, but I'm going to try.

I have also tried really hard not to read too many other reviews before writing this. Occasionally I find myself being swayed by others opinions, despite my initial impressions. With this I really only read the negative ones, to see their reasons for hating this tale. Generally speaking it was because they found it too raw, bordering on exploitative, or too whiny. I think this is a difference between people who don't relate to her feelings...who have never had any of the issues she faces or similar issues, and they just don't want to be privy to thoughts they have never experienced. I almost think that's a shame because it could help you to empathize more with people you love who might be going through a tough time.

Love Warrior is a memoir detailing the struggles Glennon has been through in her life. It starts with her bulimia, builds into full blown alcoholism and drug dabbling, and then culminates in her husband's admission of affairs and the aftermath. It is written in such a raw and detailed manner that it is sometimes horribly uncomfortable to read. It feels like someone peeled back so many layers, you almost feel dirty seeing them.

She admits to thoughts I have never heard vocalized before, and there were times I thought...I can't believe she actually wrote that down for public consumption?! The courage that must've taken astounds me. It's one thing to have those thoughts, and another thing entirely to write it down, get it published, and then have Oprah tell everyone they need to read it. I think it's incredibly brave. And I can't imagine what she told her husband to get him to say it was okay to put so much about him in there!

My summary of this book would be that it shows you what can happen when one part of the mind-body-spirit triad is out of balance. But don't get me wrong, this isn't a new agey tome filled with flowery mystical such and such. This is a down and dirty tale, although God is definitely there. But it is best described as...standing in front of the candles in a Catholic church, with your hooker heels in your hand, wearing a tube top and mini with last nights makeup smeared across your face...instantly feeling God's love beaming down at you from the statue of Mary and Jesus, and it causing an epiphany that you are loved, flaws and all. And then remembering it again sitting on a beach for hours on end, just watching the waves.
I don't think this book is for everyone, nor do I think it's perfect. I am giving it 4 stars because there were definitely some sections in the middle that I rushed through because they weren't speaking to me as loudly and started feeling a tad repetitive. And I also think that if you've never had dark thoughts before, you are going to be repulsed by the raw emotion in this and be turned off. But if you are a little dark and twisty (to quote Meredith Grey) then you will probably relate to at least some part of this book.

Glennon is lucky to have grown up in such a loving family. Her parents are still married and a large part of her life. Her sister is supportive and her rock in troubling times. The little stories of things her father did to help her out were some of my favorites. I can't imagine how much worse of a train wreck this would be had her upbringing been different. If she'd not had this immense support system there to catch her when she fell, more than once. And enough money in the bank to relocate, stop working and focus on herself when the need arises.

Sorry if this has been a very rambling all over the place review. I honestly just have so many thoughts floating around in my head (and truth be told, I haven't slept a lot lately) that I'm struggling with cohesion. I think I'm still processing. It has made me really think on how the body part of my equation is clearly messed up, and has been messed up since I was about 12 in one way or another...and perhaps I might be able to use some of her same tools to try to rectify my issues. I don't know...perhaps that's putting too much of myself out here in the blogosphere.

I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks of this book. I can't really say I "liked" it...because I don't think it's the type of book you "like". But it did resonate so deeply in me that I'll probably be thinking on it for awhile. So let me know your thoughts if you pick it up, either in the comments here or over on my Facebook page. And let me know if you've ever read a nonfiction book that made you sit back and analyze your life!
*Update: I have gone back and changed my review to 5 stars. I am still thinking about this book...and have even ordered my own copy from Amazon so I can re-read it. After I read it again, I may go back and rewrite this review, as I don't think I did the book proper justice. This book just blew me away, and I'd love to hear what others have thought about it.

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