Excerpt from Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Love Warrior

A Memoir

by Glennon Doyle Melton

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton X
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2016, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Prelude

It's almost time. My father and I stand at the edge of a long white carpet, laid just this morning over the freshly cut grass. Craig's childhood backyard is transformed by the start of fall and the promise this day holds. My shoulders are bare and I feel a chill, so I lift my face toward the sun. I squint and the sun, leaves, and sky melt together into a kaleidoscope of blue, green, and orange. The leaves, my soon-to-be husband, our families sitting upright in their dressiest clothes, and I—we are all turning into something else. We are becoming new. It's a becoming day.

We wait for the music to play so we can begin the short, forever walk toward Craig. I watch him, standing at the end of the carpet looking handsome, young, and nervous. He adjusts his tie, clasps his hands in front of him, then pushes them into his pockets. After a moment he pulls his hands back out, pressing them to his sides like a soldier. He looks untethered, and I wish I could go to him now and hold his restless hands. But my hands are occupied:

occupied. One is in my father's hand and the other is on my belly. I'm a bridge between my past and future. While I watch Craig, the guests turn to watch me. I feel embarrassed by their attention — fraudulent, like I'm pretending to be a bride. My dress is too tight around my waist and I'm wearing fake eyelashes, a rhinestone tiara, and heels like stilts. I am more costumed than I am dressed. But this is what a bride is supposed to look like, and since the day I decided to become sober and a mother, I've been trying to become who I'm supposed to be.

Our music begins and my dad squeezes my hand. I look up at his face. He smiles and says, "Here we go, sweetheart." He wraps his arm around my arm so that all of him is holding up all of me. As I walk with my father I start to feel dizzy, so I shift my eyes toward my sister. She is standing to the left of the minister in a flaming red dress. Her hair is pinned up, her back is straight, and her certainty is a flood that drowns out my fear. If there is anyone in charge here, it's her. She is smiling at me, and her fierce, steady eyes say: If you keep walking — I'm here to stand beside you. If you turn around and run, I'll follow and we'll never look back. Whatever you do right now, Sister, you're fine. I'm here. This is what she has been telling me since she was born. You are fine. I am here.

I keep walking. When we reach the end of the carpet, the minister says, "Who presents this woman to be married?" My dad answers, "Her mother and I do." My father passes my hand to Craig, who accepts it because that is what he's supposed to do. Then my dad is gone and Craig and I are facing each other and holding each other's shaking hands. Our hands are a trembling pile. I look down and wonder which one of us will steady the other. We need a third person to still our hands. I look at my sister, but she can't help now. There is no third person. This is what marriage is.

When it's time to say our vows, I tell Craig that he is my proof that God knows me and loves me. Craig nods and then vows to put me before all others for the rest of his life. I look into his eyes and accept his promise on behalf of me and our baby. The minister says, "I now pronounce you: Mr. and Mrs. Melton." It's done. I am a new person. Mrs. Melton. I hope I will be better as her. I hope I become. That is the hope of everyone in the backyard.

I set out to write the story of my marriage. The first time I wrote it, I started with the wedding day, because that's when I thought marriage began. This assumption was my mistake.

We'll get back to my wedding day and all the terrible magic that followed, but for now, let's begin at the beginning. It's our only choice, it turns out.

1

I was loved. If love could prevent pain, I'd never have suffered. My leather baby book with Glennon branded on the front is one long poem written by my father and filled with pictures of my tender-faced mother holding my pink, flaky, braceleted hand. About my birth, my father wrote:

It really wasn't

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Excerpted from Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Copyright © 2016 by Glennon Doyle Melton. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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