[Flatiron Books, 304 pages]
Glennon Doyle is a popular motivational speaker, partly because of the impact of this memoir. Several years ago, during some of the hard times that the book describes, she discovered the personal benefits of telling her truth via the written word. When her blog describing her travails went viral, she began receiving offers from publishers. This led to Love Warrior.
The young woman whom we find at the end of the memoir, however, has come a long, long way from her 10-year-old bulimic counterpart and her alcohol-and-sex-soaked adolescence and young adulthood.
She begins realizing, after an abortion followed by another pregnancy, when her loving, doting parents begin threatening to leave her to her self-destructive fate, that she has to change. The step-by-step story of how she finds her way, starting from a life nearly devoid of positive behavioural patterns, is compelling.
Doyle possesses an almost uncanny capacity to bring the reader into the living present that her words conjure. The joy of her account of the birth of her first child, and the moment she and her husband first hear and see their baby laugh, are priceless!
We take Chase for a walk and stop the stroller in front of a bush with a bird in it. The bird chirps, right at Chase’s eye level, and Chase laughs for the first time. Craig and I are stunned. We look at each other with wide, wet eyes. Chase’s laughter sounds like a waterfall of crystal bubbles. … Before this moment, Craig and I have not truly understood Chase as a whole person, separate from us, capable of being delighted by the world around him.
Similarly, Doyle’s accounts of new travail that emerges, after this Heaven has been reached, bring the reader right there with her. Love Warrior is an intense and discomfiting book, but it has a lot to impart to anyone who picks it up.