Book Report: Girl, Wash Your Face

Every now and then I’ll become motivated to buy new books. And by every now and then, I mean all the damn time. ALL the damn time. Even when my to-read pile would take years to finish, there’s just something about purchasing a new-to-me book. Maybe it’s the opportunity to see life from another’s perspective, or the opportunity to learn new things and new words (my forever daily delight). I usually buy books used because I love the passages underlined that spoke to its previous owner. I love the yellowing of the pages. I love the smell of poring over novels in various states of disrepair whose pages may have been touched by several people. However, I bought this book new on Amazon so I could take my own notes. My non-fiction books tend to have A LOT of annotation in them, so I like to buy those brand spanking new.

The same is true with this book. Lots of annotation. Lots of stars and comments in the margins. Rachel Hollis’s 20 lies that she’s once believed about herself were so compelling, I could not wait to start reading to absorb the brilliance. Though this book is chock full of gems of wisdom, she has some views that made me uncomfortable throughout the book, especially when it comes to diet culture. So many good things about this book, but I’m having trouble getting past some pieces of this work. Let’s start with some of my favorite quotes that resonated with me so profoundly I thought about getting them tattooed on my body.

1. “How many times have you bailed on yourself to watch TV? How many times have you given up before you’ve even started? How many times have you made real progress, only to face a setback and then give up completely? How many times have your family or friends or coworkers watched you quit? That is not okay.”
In this chapter, Hollis poses a hypothetical to her readers: what if you never broke a promise to yourself again? This is something I’ve been struggling with, well my whole life, but very recently I decided to put this particular issue under the self-awareness microscope. I break promises to myself left and right. Daily. Multiple times daily. Hollis makes a convincing argument, and I’m working on not bailing on myself.

2. “I love goals. They can help you become your best self but big dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates.”
For years I had convinced myself that I was going to live a year abroad and teach English, travel the world, become very worldly and cultured before I hit 30. Because 30 is serious. 30 means that the frivolity of our 20s was cute and fun, but now society says we have to have a house, partner, our dream job, etc. I love the idea that big dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates. That means that I can still become worldly even after I turn 30, or 35, or 40, or 65.

3. “Nobody will care about your dream as much as you do. Ever.” This was one of my favorite chapters because Hollis spells out exactly what it looks like to never take no for an answer. She lists strategies for not giving up and believing in our dreams so much that we simply don’t take no or rejection at face value. If we’ve come up against the same brick wall, it’s time to find another avenue over, around, through.

Alright, so for the piece that does not vibe with me or my recent intuitive eating discoveries. Hollis does a sound job of creating a tone that does not ring of judgment or telling us what we “need”; however, in this chapter, I believe she misses the mark. She states, “I also believe that humans were not made to be out of shape and severely overweight.” She goes on to tell us what she believes all humans “need”: “You need to be healthy. You don’t need to be a certain size or shape or look good in a bikini. You need to be able to run without feeling like you’re going to puke. You need to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. You ned to stop filling your body with garbage like…” Sorry, Rachel, I’m going to blah blah blah you here because this is beginning to feel like a sermon.

Speaking of sermons, she talks a lot about being Christian and God. She often quotes the Bible. If you’re comfortable with that, then full steam ahead. If you’re like me, I really had to push myself to continue reading passed the Christian pieces. I just can’t relate to that. That is one of my biases built into my framework from witnessing religion wielded as a weapon. But pat me on the back, friends, because I carried on. And you know what? I’m glad I did. I decided to simply filter out the advice that is not for me. That’s all we can really do when consuming others’ creative products and thoughts.

In conclusion, Hollis is inspirational and compelling. I would recommend this read because of all the real, relatable stories and clusters of wisdom baked in to her writing.

So I want to know, what did you think of this book? Is it on your to-read list?

Maegan


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Book Report: My Sister, the Serial Killer

In the effort to allow this blog to accurately reflect where I am currently in my journey, I thought I would share my thoughts on books that I’ve read. I am an avid bookworm and I read a little bit of everything. If you can relate, then this segment is for you! Don’t worry, no spoilers.

I read this book for a book club about a month ago. It took the internet by storm– it was everywhere. It’s Braithwaite’s debut novel. The book is a very quick read with each chapter ending within a page or two.

The protagonist is a nurse named Korede whose sister, Ayoola has developed the bad habit of killing people. Know that it is slightly satirical. Some parts made me laugh. More parts made me scrunch my face in confusion and say, “Um, wait what?” There is a certain disconnected, jerky flow to the writing style that was slightly confusing. I tried not to disengage, but to be honest, it did not keep my attention for long. My curiosity kept me in it until the end. I’m glad I stuck with it because you have to wait until the very end, almost the last sentence, to uncover the book’s message. It raises more questions than answers, most notably: what does one owe their family? How far would Korede go to protect her family?

I would recommend this book if you’re curious. My curiosity was satisfied by the ending. Nothing makes sense until then, so strap in and get through these 223 pages.

What did you think of My Sister, the Serial Killer?