I used to consider myself a book blogger even though in the back of my mind I understood “real” book bloggers to be the kind of people who were trying to surpass the prior year’s goal of reading 100 books. Meanwhile, I struggled to accomplish reading my goal of 50. Actually, I’ve never achieved it, which is embarrassing for me to admit, and since becoming a mother, cuddling up with a book and a cup of tea stopped being a priority altogether. I have started to incorporate this pastime back into my daily routine, albeit rather slowly, and I’m rather proud to tell you I read TWO. WHOLE. BOOKS. in December. Adult books. Not picture books. The lot of you are guffawing, I know, but this is a major accomplishment for me!
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis (★★★★☆)
In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis challenges women to embrace themselves and achieve their true potential, and I can’t think of a more appropriate book to read with the new year right around the corner. There is no denying Hollis is a motivational writer! The book is broken into three parts: dispelling the excuses keeping women from reaching goals, adopting good habits to set women up for success, and acquiring certain skills to make women an unstoppable force. Her use of wit and anecdotes makes her seem relatable (to a degree) and her roadmap to success achievable provided readers put her advice into action.
But, her book does warrant some criticism. At times, the book seems like a humblebrag. There are conflicting and sometimes downright problematic messages about physical health, weight, and body image. And, she is way off the mark when addressing addiction because apparently if you will it, anyone can stop “cold turkey”, even though the NIH classifies addiction as a disease. That being said, Girl, Stop Apologizing amped me up about the coming year, and it has left an impact on the way I view myself and on the way I set goals.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (★★★☆☆)
In Girl, Wash Your Face, Hollis addresses lies women often tell themselves: I am not a good mother, I am defined by my weight, I need a drink, I need a hero… Again, she uses anecdotes both humorous (like when she genuinely believed she was going to marry Matt Damon) to devastating (like her first experiences with the California foster care system) to help other women realize the negative mindsets that society often perpetuates that destroy self-confidence and prevent them from achieving their true potential.
Some chapters that spoke to me– specifically the chapters about motherhood– and, I think there is content in this book for most women regardless of age and what season of life they’re in. But, Girl, Wash Your Face didn’t impact me the way Girl, Stop Apologizing did. There may have been one or two chapters that I skimmed because they didn’t resonate with me, and like Girl, Stop Apologizing, it read as a humblebrag, and I thought there were conflicting messages regarding health and body image.
Despite the apparent flaws in Hollis’s delivery, I really enjoyed both books. But, if I were to recommend only one of these books, it would be Girl, Stop Apologizing. I think, in terms of self-improvement, it provides the best executable roadmap. It’s easy to see why this one won the 2019 Goodreads Award for Nonfiction!