Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: A Love That Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

Title:A Love That Multiplies
Author:Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Imprint:Howard Books
Pub. Date:06/07/2011
ISBN:1439183813 (ISBN13: 9781439183816)

In this second book from the Duggars, they focus on the principles that equip them to face life's challenges—drawing from their most recent challenge with the 3-month premature birth of their newest child, Josie. They also share the new challenges their older children are facing as they prepare for adult life. Central to the book is a section on the principles that the Duggars have consistently taught their children. These simply worded principles are basic to the Duggar family and are shared in a way that other parents can incorporate in their own homes. A special chapter on homeschooling gives valuable information to parents who are considering this route or are already invested in it. The world continues to be amazed by their nineteen well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children and their home life, which focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. The Duggars show how parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)


I have to admit, I watch the Duggars' TV show. So I was pretty interested to read this book. I tend to find the Duggars' religious beliefs a bit extreme, and there is certainly a lot of preaching in this book. It does make sense though, as their religion is their whole life. The first section of this book covers Michelle's pre-eclampsia and Josie's emergency delivery. There's not really anything new there if you have seen their TV show.

The rest of the book covers their philosophies for parenting and life in general. These are heavily influenced by Bill Gothard and his IBLP. Their beliefs fall under what I would label as (in the words of my nephew) "super mega extreme" conservatism. Once again, there is very little in here that you don't already know if you watch their TV show. A few interesting notes for me was that Michelle and Jim Bob both readily admit that they do get upset and have (in the past anyway) even raised their voices. Shocking, I know. However, it does make them seem a little more human. Perhaps the most compelling thing in the book is Michelle describing what it was like to learn her father was dying while Josie was also fighting for her life. This part was actually a very beautiful example of how her life and beliefs helped to bolster her in a very low point of her life.

There is some useful advice. For example, Michelle discusses taking care of needs and/or bad behavior when it first appears instead of letting it go and potentially become a bigger problem. However, for every useful idea, there are several things that appear not as good to me. Blanket training was a concept I took issue with. I have a 17 month old, and I find it vastly unrealistic to think that he should be able to sit on a blanket and not move for an hour or so. No way am I going to torture both of us by trying this. There's also a strange bit where they talk about training their children (even very small ones) that they have to look everyone directly in the eye, lest they come across as disrespectful. What if the child is naturally shy? Or going through a clingy stage? It seems odd to me.

The writing was just OK. It's written in the first person, but the narrator switches between Michelle and Jim Bob a lot. It got kind of annoying to find out who was talking half-way through the section. I wish that had flowed a bit better. There were also some things that seemed thrown in to quiet critics. For example, there were several recipes in the book, and almost all of them included lots of fresh veggies and fruits. Maybe that is how they really do eat, but I know they have gotten some criticism for how their diet appears on the show. They also have a section about how their daughters would be allowed to live out there dreams and even go to college (even though Bill Gothard seems anti anything that takes women out of the house and authority of a male). Whether this is true or not remains to be seen.

Overall, this book is pretty good. If you watch their show, there is not much new to be gleaned from this book (unless you want to memorize Duggar approved Bible verses). It is a fairly quick read. Be prepared to get products (especially those from places like IBLP and Vision Forum) heavily endorsed. There is quite a bit of that in the book. If you really love the Duggars, then you will probably enjoy this book. Otherwise, most the book will probably leave you shaking your head.

Galley provided by publisher for review.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Aren't people fascinating!?! :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters