“All of the things that make a woman human are a good girl’s dirty secret.” – Glennon Doyle
Perhaps one of the most jarring and intensely introspective memoirs released in the past five years, Untamed is a deep dive into the psyche of a woman who learned what it is to be free in today’s world, despite society’s relentless encouragement to suppress and contort oneself to fit the mold. Published in 2020, author Glennon Doyle bravely attacks the notions which seek to shape and define the average woman. She condemns all that is expected of her, acknowledging how she lived a life she tried to convince herself was enough for too long before making necessary changes.
Untamed opens with Doyle’s recollection about a cheetah bred in captivity. As she and her young daughter watch the cheetah perform tricks, Doyle sees herself in the captive animal and recognizes the importance of freedom. This revelation seems to inspire the remainder of the narrative; Doyle goes on to share life-altering experiences which opened her eyes to potential freedoms. For a long time, she, like many others, lived how she should live—not how she wanted. Until one moment flipped her world upside down.
Doyle’s inner dissonance took hold when she spotted Abby, the woman she is married to today. It was this moment that served as a catalyst for her life. In her words, she spotted Abby for the first time and thought: “There she is.” Except these words did not only refer to Abby; Doyle insists that this is the moment in which began her transformation into her truest self. In spotting the person she was meant to be with, everything about her life was challenged—her sexuality, her beliefs, her values, her interests, her happiness. And such an undeniable presence forced Doyle to really look at her life: She looked at her unfaithful husband, her substance abuse, her persona, and her personal beliefs and values. Suddenly, she saw everything in a different light. Upon
realizing that she was minimally satisfied, she made difficult decisions and uprooted comfortable aspects of her existence to build a life of utmost joy and fulfillment. And she encourages you to do the same, no matter the cost.
The stories Doyle shares in Untamed do not suggest that making such changes is easy. In fact, they emphasize just how incredibly challenging the utter destruction of life as you know it might be. But they also demonstrate the overwhelming fruitfulness of burning everything down if you choose to replace it all with your deepest, wildest dreams.
“We must decide that if the truth inside us can burn a belief, a family structure, a business, a religion, an industry—it should have become ashes yesterday.” –Glennon Doyle
Doyle proves that there is a certain autonomy within each woman waiting to be unearthed and untamed. By sharing her experiences, she exhibits exactly how hard it is to excavate one’s own truths. But in doing so, her roles in life no longer define her. Rather, it is she who defines these roles for herself. And Untamed incites you to follow in her footsteps.
The midsection of Untamed was encumbered with deep thoughts and elaborate explanations. I will admit that this section is not for everyone. It can be repetitive and may seem convoluted if you do not sift through Doyle’s words with a discerning eye for knowledge and meaningful revelation. However, it will prove very helpful for those enduring universal struggles, as Doyle withstood for quite some time. I found her personal experiences instructive, relatable, and shocking. Not to mention the beliefs she forged because of these experiences.
Untamed is an homage to women everywhere. In addition to her thoughts regarding women’s issues, Doyle also explores racism, religion, family, drugs, alcohol,mental health, and a plethora of other universal topics within this memoir. She is self-critical, only sharing what she has learned and not preaching her beliefs in the hopes of converting her readers. Her ideas and beliefs are thoroughly explained, but she allows her art to be interpreted. Most importantly, she bravely writes about what women everywhere are taught to quell and subdue. And I loved it.
Doyle is a critically acclaimed memoirist and author. She has published three #1 New York Times bestsellers, including Untamed, Love Warrior, and Carry On, Warrior. Through her own self-discovery, Doyle has found many avenues of support for other women. She is the founder of a women-led nonprofit organization helping families and children in crisis, and she also co-runs a podcast addressing difficulties of life.