Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review: Growing Up Duggar

Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar

Recommended for: Girls Ages 13 and Up

In this delightful and very personal book, the four oldest Duggar girls share their hearts and their core beliefs, explaining that it's all about relationships!

Relationship with self: The girls share their own personal journeys to self-acceptance and navigating the difficult stage of adolescence. Relationship with parents: You'll find revelations about how Jim Bob and Michelle keep the lines of communication open with their children. Relationships with siblings: Here, you'll get a peek into the Buddy system, how the siblings handle conflict, and how the loss of little Jubilee (their sister) affected their relationships with each other. Relationships with friends: You'll find principles on how the Duggar kids deal with peer pressure and how they interact with friends outside their family. Relationships with boys: You'll learn the Duggar view of dating and courtship, and these four sisters will address the often-asked question of when one of them will get married. Relationship with God: And woven throughout the book, the girls talk about their most important relationship of all their relationship with God and their own personal faith and beliefs.

This candid look into what Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger believe and why they believe it will give you practical insights into your own life and will inspire you to evaluate principles that will work for you.

I had been wanting to read this book for awhile, but it wasn't until Leah E. Good reviewed it on her blog that I actually thought to look it up at the library. To my surprise, my library actually had it and so I decided to check it out. It sat on my dresser for a while, but when I finally sat down to read it, I read it in about a day. I actually had a couple people ask for a review on it, which is rather an unusual experience for me. I've never really reviewed a nonfiction book before, but here goes.

First off, the book is well written. It is written in a conversational style that is very friendly and easy to read, and really feels very personal. The Duggar girls did a good job of reaching out with this book and sharing their experiences. Yet while they were very specific about their convictions and definite that they believe firmly in them, they at the same time weren't judgmental about those with differing views. At least, I didn't feel like they were, and I certainly don't agree with them on every single thing.

In Growing Up Duggar, Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger used Scripture and their life experiences as well as those of people they know to explain their convictions and offer advice on how to live in a godly way in all areas of life. Not everything was new to me, but I did find myself noticing areas of my life that I need to work on as they discussed them. It also offered new perspective. For instance, I never realized before that by being discontent with unchangeables in one's self, you are being upset with God for the way He made you.

The focus of the book is relationships. They explain how they and their parents have always striven to have a good and open relationship and how beneficial that is for both parties. They also talk about relationships with siblings and how important they are. Your siblings are your siblings for always, so being friends is important. The Duggar girls haven't always been best friends; they share stories on how they cultivated the close relationship they have now. I have a good relationship with my sisters, but it's still far from perfect, and this book helped me to identify ways I am struggling in that and in my attitude that I need to work on.

The chapter on courtship and relationships with guys was especially interesting to me. It is something my mom and I have had many conversations on, and much of what they said reinforced what we have discussed. An example is that a young man's treatment of his mother and sisters is a good indicator of how he will treat his wife. They also talked about how important it is to get to know a guy in real life situations rather than solely in best behavior type situations, which is something I fully agree with. Last week, a family in my church hosted a meeting where three couples talked about their experiences with courtship, and while they were, for the most part, less strict in their rules than the Duggars, many of the subjects they talked about were the same and from generally the same perspective. They do deal with some tough subjects, particularly in this chapter, such as abortion, but they handled it all well.

I fully agree with the section on politics, and am glad that people who are strong Christians and as well known as the Duggars understand the extreme importance of Christians being involved in politics. They understand that it is a ministry, and that it affects all areas of our lives. Getting Christian conservative men in office is important to the survival of countless unborn babies, to the safety of Americans, and most of all, to our freedom to be able to worship God. The Duggars, like my family, have been involved in campaigns for Christian conservative candidates, and have worked hard to put people in office who will do God's will in the government. We as Christians need to be willing to do that.

 Now, I did mention that I don't agree with them on everything, but that's okay, and for them that's okay. Everyone is different. While I do fully agree with them on the importance of modesty, I don't feel like it's wrong for a girl to wear pants. (I rarely do as a matter of preference, mostly because I find it next to impossible to find pants that fit the way I like, you know, aren't tight or low-waisted, and it's just easier to make a batch of skirts.) And no, I don't agree that all dancing is bad. Certain types most definitely are, and I don't hold it against them in the least for abstaining from all, though I do think they're kind of missing out on the Posties Jig. I am less strict on media, but that isn't to say my take on it is correct either. It's impossible to read or watch anything written by humans and agree with it 100%. Humans are fallible. If you only consume media you fully agree with, you'll never read anything. There's a fine line somewhere, and I don't know where it is. And truly, it's different for everyone. Everyone has different temptations and different standards. And that's okay.

Growing Up Duggar is an excellent book on living a godly life, and one I would highly recommend.

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