The book “Untamed” has been torn out of stores and hailed by celebrities, but how good is the self-help guide that should have changed Adele’s life?
Artist Adele Adkins is used to moving people with her music, with songs about everything from total joy to bottomless love grief.
Now the artist has admittedly had a longer break from his music career, and Adele has apparently also spent part of her free time reading books. Now she gives one book the credit for going through a huge change and getting a whole new outlook on life.
The book she’s talking about is called “Untamed” and is written by motivational coach Glennon Doyle.
– This book will shake your brain and make your soul scream. I’m so ready for myself after reading this book. It’s like I just flew into my body for the first time, writes the “Rolling in the Deep” singer on his Instagram.
Over the past six months, Adele has stolen many headlines for her marked weight loss and lifestyle change. It came in the wake of the divorce with her husband Simon Konecki with whom Adele has a son Angelo.
The book “Untamed”, which is in its 28th week on the New York Times bestseller list, has also recently been picked up by a number of celebrities. Doyle’s fan list includes Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Kirsten Bell and Reese Witherspoon.
The latter chose “Untamed” for their own book club this spring. She thinks Doyle is a great inspiration.
– You must read this book. Each chapter of this book inspired me, I felt it was the most amazing meal or the most tasty dessert, I had to read the chapter and close the book and think about what I had read, and go back and underline. There are so many things in this book that liberated me, Reese Witherspoon told her followers.
– Provides simple solutions to complex problems
Having almost been torn off the shelves and been difficult to obtain, the question of whether Doyle’s self-help book is something completely different.
Therefore, we have asked psychologist Line Marie Warholm to analyze the book and say what she thinks about the self-help book from a psychologist’s perspective.
– I understand that someone can feel great satisfaction by reading “Untamed”, because it provides simple solutions to complex problems, Warholm says.
She is a psychologist specialist in private practice, a regular columnist in Aftenposten and author of the book “Cool kids and parents who are struggling to let go”.
– The main message in “Untamed” is good: Trust yourself, take care of yourself, set boundaries for other people and take responsibility for your life. This is great, but certainly not new. Much of this is 70s feminism again, Warholm points out.
– Like having a dominant best friend
Singer Adele recommends the book to those who need to let go of themselves and indulge in life.
– The book allows you to do as you please without reflecting on the consequences. “Untamed” would have been fine if it had been a novel. As a self-help book, it is junk, Warholm believes and elaborates:
– The book gives us this feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. That everything should fall into place and feel right. She writes sweet stories that make it sound easy to live freely. This is not the reality.
In the book, it is love that gets the main focus, but also a number of other themes Doyle weighs in, everything from child rearing, to feminism, racism and religion.
– She does not reflect on the fact that the world may look different to others, but spits out everything she thinks is unfair in the world and does not offer a room for reflection. The book is not for the reader to develop, but for her to take over the author’s attitudes, Warholm says and adds:
– Reading “Untamed” is like being 14 years old and having a dominant best friend who decides what you should think and who you should like. Here there is no room for nuance and reflection.
Compared to being at a wine night
“Untamed” is based on a series of events from Glennon Doyle’s life.
Common is that these form the background for how she has liberated herself from what she once was and was taught to believe. Right from childhood and into life as a mother and wife, where she assumed that she had to be and react in a specific, and unfree way.
– Her description is very thin and gives us more of an understanding of how her processes are, than to understand our own, Warholm says and continues:
– And this is consistent throughout the book: Doyle has discovered something important in his own life. In “Untamed” she tries to put it into words and share it with us. But she tries to do something general that applies to her, and she has no competence for that. She makes models that fit her own life story instead of using her stories as an illustration, Warholm believes.
The psychologist thinks the book gives a feeling of hearing a person drool thoughts about life, death and love after a few glasses of wine.
– She does it based on her own experiences and without having any professional knowledge or greater understanding or reflection around it, Warholm says.
Was trapped in unhappy relationship
A very important part of Glennon Doyle’s life, and a period that Doyle often takes as her starting point, came when she was at a huge crossroads in life.
Doyle realized that she was not only trapped in her own person, me also in an unhappy relationship with a man who was unfaithful to her.
Then, by chance, Doyle met the American football player Abby Wambach and at first glance, the couple fell in love. Doyle portrays her relationship with Abby as the purest infatuation one can experience, and undoubtedly the woman in her life.
Therefore, Doyle chose to divorce her husband, and marry Wambach.
– She portrays heterosexual sexuality as untrue and misogynistic, without reflecting on the fact that many women have good, satisfying and loving sex with men. It’s not just lesbian women who have eye contact when they make love. That Doyle herself did not get along with her husband is not so strange if she is a lesbian. But not all women are lesbians.
Giving such specific advice without having the expertise to do so is awkward.
– Old new
The tips Doyle comes up with are everything from freeing yourself from conditions that give you nothing to stop and feel inward.
– It’s nice, but this is old news. Everyone knows that it is a good idea to put away your mobile phone and go for a walk in the woods or meditate when you are stressed.
– She also writes about feeling inwards instead of looking outwards when making decisions. She calls it “knowing”. And here it becomes very clear that she is not a professional and that she has no knowledge of mental processes – such as decision-making.
One of the things the psychologist responds to is when Doyle gives advice on how a person with mental illness should relate to having to take medication.
– Giving such specific advice without having the expertise to do so is awkward, Warholm points out.
Nevertheless, the psychologist believes that Doyle writes well about the feeling of not living up to other people’s expectations, and about enduring one’s own feelings and taking responsibility for one’s own life.
– But it becomes tendentious. Everyone knows that you can not always do what you want. The challenge is precisely to make these assessments in a wise way.
In addition, a key part for Doyle is that women, especially women in relationships and in families, largely prioritize the role of mother and wife, over themselves.
– She has some very good points, among other things she asks why women feel selfish when they take care of their own needs, Warholm says and continues:
– But she goes too far when she writes that everyone knows that in a court, one man will always be believed even if 20 women testify against him. She writes as if women are always good. If women were allowed to decide, there would be no war. This becomes nonsense and is also a simplification of women at the same time as it is a devaluation of the man.
One of the things she reacts to is when Doyle describes how she no longer has friends, because friendship is too demanding for her and it has therefore been easier to end friendship relationships.
– For most of us, the challenge is precisely to be able to set boundaries without our relationships being destroyed. We are afraid to reject others and to be rejected. Cutting relationships is a simple solution that does not work for most of us, Warholm points out.
Does reading self-help books help?
– What does it take for a self-help book to be good?
– A good self-help book helps you reflect on your own life, your own mental processes and relationships. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe. When you gain knowledge that creates a new insight or a new way of looking at something, it does not disappear as quickly as if you only focus on changing behavior.
However, she believes that it is not uncommon for people from time to time to find solace in the literature and explains that it is often a matter of finding something that describes the feelings one is sitting with, in the same way that a song or film can do the same.
– When such books hit us hard, it’s mostly about timing. Sometimes we read a book or watch a movie that hits us in the middle of something difficult we ourselves are in. I even read a novel by Hanne Ørstavik when I was on my way out of a relationship. It made a huge impression on me because it described my own pain so deeply. The novel gave me confirmation of my own feelings. This is how you can have self-help books as well, without them necessarily being so good – objectively speaking, Warholm concludes.