Book review: ‘Love Warrior’ an honest, brave memoir
‘Love Warrior,’ by Glennon Doyle Melton
“Love Warrior” is an honest, brave memoir about a woman’s fractured life and the hard work of her healing and self-discovery in the face of crisis. At the surface, “Love Warrior” is a story about a marriage and how two broken people chose to work through the pain of infidelity to rebuild their union. Yet, the power of the author’s story is in how she restored her relationship with herself.
The author describes how, at age 10, she began to feel painfully uncomfortable in her body and started to binge and purge as a way to cope. In hindsight, she recognizes there was dissonance between her body and her mind. Aware that her body was the part of her she was forced to present to the world, she hated it for being “big” and taking up too much space. The real Glennon was in her mind, hiding.
Melton longed for emptiness, the peacefulness of a moment she didn’t have to feel anything. Bulimia helped her reach this calm, and so did alcohol. As an adult, Melton continued to harm herself, which caused her family deep pain. Her life spiraled out of control until she became unexpectedly pregnant. Determined this child was the invitation from God she needed, she chose to start her life anew.
Melton quit drinking cold turkey. She married her partner, Craig, and the couple had several children and built a stable, comfortable life together.
Yet, Melton found motherhood isolating and lonely. She felt guilty for feeling lonely — still — and she longed for connection and conversation, so she began to write. Through her writing, she connected with many other mothers who likewise felt isolated. She started a community.
While Melton found emotional satisfaction from connecting with strangers online, Craig also sought connections with strangers. He admitted to years of infidelity. The two separated, heartbroken for the fracturing of their family and the pain they would cause their children.
The second half of the book tells the story of how Melton and Craig worked together during their separation to each become whole and healthy people. This part of the story reads more like a self-help book than a memoir, but there are valuable, universal nuggets of wisdom. The author teases apart the ideals of femininity and masculinity —the social pressures that make it impossible for women and men to be true to themselves and to truly know each other.
As for coping, Melton describes how, instead of escaping — as she had through bulimia and drinking — real growth happens when you sit with the pain. That is the path of the warrior. Ultimately, the author’s story demonstrates how, only when you become comfortable in your own body, in your own restless mind, can you face life boldly and authentically and with a heart full of love.
This book is available at Bud Werner Memorial Library and Off the Beaten Path.
Emily Katzman is assistant manager of Off the Beaten Path.
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