Blogtober ’21 Book Review; Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Sunday Times Best Seller
“After thirty years of contorting myself to fit inside someone else’s idea of love, I finally had a love that fit – custom made for me, by me” – Glennon Doyle
You may have seen us tweet, incessantly, about this book over the last few months. It’s because without a shadow of a doubt it was a brilliant book and I’ll tell you why…
It was the first book on our book club list, so I had to read it. The first chapter made me feel a little queasy as it’s starts off quite twee in nature. It’s quite obvious where the writer is going with it all. The prologue focuses on a Cheetah, in a cage, tamed by the zookeeper to do what its told and, if she is completes the task of chasing a dirty pink rabbit, then she will be rewarded with a huge slab of meat. Glennon writes;
“Day after day this wild animal chases dirty pink bunnies down the well worn path they cleared for her. Never looking left or right. Never catching that damn bunny, settling instead for a store – bought steak and the distracted approval of sweaty strangers. Obeying the zookeeper’s every command, just like Minnie, the Lab (Labrador) she’s been trained to believe she is. Unaware that if she remembered her wildness – just for a moment – she could tear those zookeepers to shreds.”Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I thought, I know exactly where this is going. Gaynor is going to preach to me that all women are caged animals, patriarchy is evil and women should grab men by the balls and hold them accountable for the centuries of abuse bestowed up them, by men. It doesn’t do that. It is much more nuanced and sophisticated than that. It investigates the human conditioning of building cages and allowing ourselves to live in them. It looks at freedom and how quickly, without thinking, we give it up. That we believe someone else’s version of who we should be. We believe more in the identities the outside world imposes upon us, rather than allowing our intuition to guide us and use our imagination to set us free.
We are all bilingual. We speak the language of indoctrination, but our native tongue is the language of the imagination. When we use the language of indoctrination – with its should and shouldn’t, right and wrong, good and bad – we are activating our minds. That’s not what we’re going for here. Because our minds are polluted by our training. In order to get beyond our training, we need to activate our imaginations.Untamed Glennon Doyle
I believe it was easy for me to get on board with this book, because much of my thinking is aligned with Gaynor. As an actor my main, and only divine gift, is the gift of Imagination. It’s what allows me to create deeply complex, 3Dimensional and relatable characters. It’s what allows me to tell an authentic story – it allows me to break all of the rules my culture, community and society puts upon me. It encourages me to empower, not only myself but others too.
The book is about agency. Choosing for yourself the life that you want and acknowledging at the same time that it is not easy, but absolutely possible. Glennon suggests that we (women) can do hard things and it is ok. A life you want, chosen by you, for you, is easier to live, than a life you don’t want, or are living for someone else or one that is chosen for you.
Imagination is not just a catalyst of Art; it’s also the catalyst for compassion. Imagination is the shortest distance between two people, two cultures, two ideologies, two experiences.Untamed Glennon Doyle
I am also a heterosexual woman from a South Asian background, this book is written by a queer white woman from an American background and yet I found myself identifying with her, every step of the way. That is the sign of an ingenious storyteller – some one who can write for every one. And she’s done this by appealing to our human experience, emotions and psychology, not labels or false identities stipulated by others. She expresses “Human qualities are not gendered”(pg185). Labels are just another way of making it easy for people to control us. God forbid we actually knew our true human potential – can you imagine what a life that would be.
Untamed could be viewed as a self help book even though it is ultimately the story of one woman who drastically changed her life for the better. It was a fantastic read in which I felt huge amounts of pain and sadness for the things I had allowed to happen to me – just because that was they way we were supposed to live. However, I was equally euphoric and galvanised by wanting to live a life with people who understood me, rather than trying to fit into a cage or box that was too small for me.
I also loved the use of language in the book – I felt like it spoke to my soul. It was pure and imaginative. It resonated with me. We were also sold on the book because it came highly recommended by Brene Brown – who we adore. Glennon Doyle also featured on her podcast ‘Unlocking Us’. I remember listening to the episode and thinking wow. But I never put the two together until I read the book and it felt familiar, in more ways than one.
It’s a 10/10 for us. It’s a quick read; I read it in a week. So go on – put Untamed by Glennon Doyle on your reading list this October.
Next up on our reading list is The Khan by Saima Mir and so far it is brilliant. Review coming soon.