Everyone was reading this book. I kept seeing it all over social media. People were claiming it to be life changing. I don’t really know why, but I didn’t have much interest in reading it. Eventually, I gave into the online peer pressure and rave reviews and picked up a copy of Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.
It didn’t change my life.
There were actually times that I really didn’t like Hollis or the message she was giving.
But the one thing you have to give her 100% credit on – that woman is totally authentic. Rachel Hollis is completely real, honest, and open and she has my complete respect for that. It is not easy to just put yourself out there. Especially in a freaking book which people are paid to criticize. And running a website and blog as popular as hers – we all know the internet is unfortunately filled with trolls and just plain mean-spirited people. Rachel says she got to a point that she no longer reads what people say about her or her writing. I think the majority of us could benefit from the mindset. She writes to write. As a writer who cares too much about the opinions of others, that is definitely something I could benefit from adopting into my think tank.
There were parts of the book I loved. I don’t know if my expectations were too high, but I had anticipated that it was going to be life changing. Everyone kept singing its praises. I could relate to its messages for the most part, but there was just something I couldn’t put my finger on that bothered me.
I just feel in some ways she sang her own praises too much or that she was full of herself. But! At the same time, this lady had no problem identifying her flaws and that is a hell of a lot harder to do. Maybe it is just an awkward balance? Some of it I couldn’t relate to because I’m not married or a mother yet. I had heard others say they couldn’t relate to it because they past that stage in their life. So I’m wondering if the book as a whole is targeted towards a very specific audience – but that is only to get the full message. A few of the people who told me they absolutely loved it are in similar spots in their lives and can relate to some of the situations more than I can.
The other part I was most uncomfortable with was her attitude towards drinking and how it related to parenting. She grows past her mindset, but it was kind of scary that she got to that point. What is scarier is wondering how many people have the same time of mindset; that they need to consistently drink to relax from their kids. Now, my parents still tell me I “drive them to drink.” But saying that and acting on it to the point it becomes a problem are two totally different things. However, this example also made me think about whenever I say I need a drink from work. It offered perspective. This wasn’t exactly an area of my life I thought I would reevaluate, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
Another aspect of the book that I couldn’t totally relate to were the religion mentions. While I was raised Catholic, I’m not a super religious person and I would call my relationship with religion “complicated.” But if that works for her, hey, go for it. She also didn’t come across preachy, it was just another aspect of her life. Someone asked me if the book was religious and I kind of didn’t know how to answer. There are a lot of references to God, but it’s not like she is saying “the only way to succeed in life is if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” It is not that kind of book. It is more of a “Hey, God’s got my back and I’m going to trust him.” I never felt that she was pushing it onto her readers, which I think is a cool and effective way to explain what works for her. Because, let’s face it, the first thing ANY self-help or personal development book should admit is that not every method they suggest is going to work for every single reader. Might not be the best selling point, but I think readers would appreciate the honesty.
Honesty is my biggest takeaway from this book. Rachel shares a very raw and real version of herself with the reader. You see her at her best and at her worst. She admits to transgressions that pretty much all of us do – like wondering why someone won’t parent their screaming child in a public setting – but then acknowledging that we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. There’s a million reasons as to why the kid is screaming and why the parents aren’t simply sweeping the kid and going back to the car for a timeout. Sure, sometimes it might just be lazy parenting – but it really isn’t our place to judge. I think that most important message I got from the book was to be honest with yourself and the situations around you.
Hollis gives great suggestions and outlines how to reach your life goals. I also like how she prefaced her lists with “Things that Helped Me.” It goes back to what I said before. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all on how to get your shit together. Her suggestions might work for you, or they might lead you to develop your own methods. Some of them might seem obvious, but at the same time it’s like a slap upside the head. If it’s so obvious, why aren’t you already doing it? Why didn’t you write the damn book?
Some people might take these lists as the most significant message of the book. Not me. Her honesty and the rawness of some of her stories really had an impact on me, such as the judging other parents thing. That led into hey, let’s stop judging one another. That concept went into women stop judging other women. To the women reading this blog, we know that we are all pretty much guilty of that. Oh, on that same note, Hollis then points out that we need to stop competing and comparing against each other. We all know this. But sometimes seeing it printed on paper helps get the message across. So we should thank Rachel for that. She puts uncomfortable truths out there. But sometimes we need that.
Another story that really got to me that I think everyone should read is Rachel and her husband’s struggle to adopt and their experience with the foster care system. Adopting is not an easy process. And, I didn’t know this until recently when a friend adopted a child, often you have to foster before you can adopt. As Rachel shares, this can be a brutal and heartbreaking process. My heart broke with theirs and my eyes were opened. I don’t know how the process can be improved, but there has to be something better.
Ironically, I think writing this review gave me a different opinion on the book. I didn’t love it and it didn’t change my life. However, I learned from it. There are lessons and tips to take away. Some stories stuck with me more than others. This is probably the most I have ever felt comfortable criticizing an author or book, so take that for whatever it is worth. It didn’t change my life, but I did enjoy reading it. I read it in less than a day. Hollis knows how to keep her readers engaged. Ultimately, I would recommend reading this. It might not turn your life upside down or sideways, but I think most women, although primarily in the 20s and 30s demographic could take something from it. Give it a shot.