The first thing you need to know is that I read this book, which is 272 pages long, in one sitting. That should tell you something.
LOVE WARRIOR, Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir, is ostensibly about what she did after she learned about her husband’s infidelities, but really it is more about so many other things: how people struggle with body image and societal expectations; how men and women feel pressured—in different ways—not to be their authentic selves and how they hurt one another as a result; how people deal with or avoid pain; and how we can heal ourselves, to name just a few.
Melton’s early story of a young woman who engages in binging and purging is not unfamiliar. If you’re a woman, either you’ve been this woman or you’ve known someone—or several someones—who lived this way or maybe still does. Lest the men reading this review think, Oh, it’s a book for women, then, never mind: think again. What Melton reveals is the other side of the coin, how men are shamed into withholding their feelings and they swallow this pain with alcohol, drugs, and various unhealthy behaviors. We are all in this together. And we’ve all got to figure it out together.
This book reveals many important truths. Possibly my favorite is this:
“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
For those of us in pain—that is, all of us—this insight can be surprisingly helpful. Denial does not make pain disappear. As Melton shows us, what often happens is simply that we pass the pain on to those we love. So to solve this problem, she says, we must become more fully the warriors we truly are.
(PS, many thanks to Kayla Wickes for this recommendation!)