BookBrowse Reviews Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

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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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Besieged by a lack of self esteem in her youth and having to cope with her husband's infidelity, one memoirist describes her path to acceptance through many a rocky road.

In Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton traces her life from childhood through her more recent experiences as a wife and mother of three. Over the course of the memoir Melton chronicles her transformation from an insecure adolescent into a confident adult—or, in her words, a warrior.

Although Melton grew up in a loving, financially secure household without any trauma, she developed body issues early on—feeling flawed and believing her true self was unlovely and unlovable.

Now I'm thirteen and I'm in the front seat of my dad's truck...My passenger seat is pushed up farther than my dad's seat, so all of me feels huge and thrust too far forward. I feel bigger than he is, which seems like a breach. My hair is frizzed and orange and my skin is broken out so badly it's painful. I've tried to cover it with makeup, and now the brown liquid drips down my neck. I feel ashamed that my dad has to drive me around, claim me as his own. I want to be small again, small enough to be taken care of, small enough to disappear. But I am not small, I am big. I am unwieldy. I feel obnoxious and impolite for taking up so much space in this truck, this world.

As a teen, Melton decided that the only way to fit in was to create a persona to interact with the cool kids. This "representative" was the one who was fashionable and clever, while her real self hid behind the facade. As Melton became an adult, she added to the problems by perpetually numbing herself with alcohol and sex. She sought acceptance by trying to be "pretty." For Melton, this meant thin, which led to bulimia.

Because she never revealed her true self, Melton felt no one really knew her, and was incredibly lonely even as she became a wife and mother of three. Melton writes extensively—and in an unflinchingly honest manner. She doesn't soften or make excuses for the fact that she would have done anything as a young woman to be part of the "in" crowd. This part of the narrative is particularly engrossing; one can't help but wonder how anyone this messed up can possibly pull herself up.

As interesting as the early parts of the book are, the real heart begins with the author's learning that her husband had multiple affairs, cheating on her almost from the very day they got married. As she faces this crisis she undergoes therapy and practices yoga and meditation. Over the course of several months she has a spiritual awakening of sorts. Melton starts to understand that the God she professes to love created her "as-is," with all her imperfections; her flaws are as divinely designed, and consequently she's exactly as God intended, "warts and all." She begins to love herself – perhaps for the first time in her life. Moreover, she begins to understand that God also created her husband with all his flaws, and as such she decides to forgive him and attempt to repair their marriage (see 'Beyond the Book').

This portion is absolutely inspiring because it encourages readers to examine their own lives and relationships in a new light. Although I have nothing in common with Melton and do not share her spirituality, the memoir still gave me pause, urging me to undertake my own journey of growth and self-discovery. Melton's writing is so raw and vibrant that I was touched by her frankness and could relate to her, even though we're at very different places in our lives. Despite having experienced very few of Melton's challenges, I was unexpectedly moved by her victories.

You have to be in the right mindset for such a memoir, ready and eager to share someone else's journey and have it shine light on your own. That said, Love Warrior is sure to find a broad audience and appeal to those searching for love, acceptance, or meaning in their lives. Readers will almost certainly want to discuss Love Warrior with someone else, and as such it will make an ideal book-group selection.

Reviewed by Kim Kovacs

This review was originally published in November 2016, and has been updated for the September 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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