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“You’re a cheetah, did you know that?” someone said to me. “You have to read Untamed by Glennon Doyle.”

Released almost a year ago in March 2020, I had seen the vibrant book cover toted around by many women at airports, at brunches, and on Instagram; I saw Elizabeth Gilbert’s stamp of approval on the back. But it took me almost a full year to read the book that has sold over 1 million copies and was #1 on the New York Timesbest-seller list. Now that I have read it, I can see what the all the hype was about. However, I have some mixed feelings.

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Like many women, I was sucked in by Doyle’s raw vulnerability and beautiful writing. I relished being compared to a cheetah. I was awakened to my sabotaging people-pleasing. I had several aha moments reading about how woman often will “crowdsource” opinions instead of listening to themselves, or what Glennon calls their own “knowing.” I do that, too! I do all of these things! Why don’t I trust my own opinions? I’m glad I trust someone else to tell me what I should trust.

Throughout the book, Glennon unpacks her journey of falling in love with Abby Wambach on her book tour while promoting Love Warrior, a memoir about choosing love and redemption after her husband’s infidelity. I am happy for her, in many ways, mainly because she is living in her truth and her knowing. However, it’s this part of the story that got me thinking. 

Every experience we have gives us the opportunity to reflect and say, “It was right for the moment, but isn’t right for the future.” Doyle wrote a book about choosing to work on her marriage and how she picked herself up to come together again, and now, I’m reading a book about her journey away from that choice. Which leads me to the biggest takeaway of the book: Even the author, who offers over 300 pages of perfect advice, doesn’t always have all of the answers.

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I listened to Glennon Doyle teach me not to listen to her—not to listen to anyone, for that matter. While self-help books and memoirs are very helpful, only can tap into myself and actually know what path is best for me in my own life. The book was a double-headed snake of the obvious “here is some great advice” and the less obvious “Iook at the times when I was wrong.” It’s the first time a book both told me and showed me an important lesson: do you.

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Kelly Collette is a standup comedian and writer. She produces plays and comedy shows in the Midwest and loves to feature female leads. Find her on Twitter or Instagram @kellycollette.

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